The Poetical Works of Elizabeth Margaret Chandler/The Negro Father's Lamentation Over the Body of His Infant Son
The Negro Father's Lamentation Over the Body of His Infant Son
Thou'rt dead, my boy!—my son!—my only child!—
And yet I may not shed one tear for thee,
Nor hanging o'er thy bier in anguish wild,
Upbraid the hand that bore thee far from me:
I cannot wish that thou hadst lived to share
Thy father's fate—his woes—and his despair!
I loved thee—oh! I need not say how well!
Thou wert my all of hopes or bliss on earth!
Yet I will not repine that thou dost dwell
In happiness, with her who gave thee birth,
While I, like yon dark rock of naked stone,
Must bear the storms that round me beat, alone.
'T is well! Thou wilt not share those storms with me,
That is my all of comfort in this hour—
I weep not, though I would have died for thee!
Ay, more than died— that sacrifice were poor—
I would have spurn'd the hand that set me free,
And clasp'd my chain, and lived a slave, for thee.
My boy! my darling boy! farewell, farewell!
Thou ne'er shalt feel the pangs that rend me now,
For still my heart with agony will swell,
To think, that never more upon my brow,
Thy little lips with fondness shall be prest,
As when I oft have clasp'd thee to my breast.
Yes! fare thee well! thy fond caress no more
Shall soothe the tortured throbbing of my heart,
As it full oft has done, when tyrant power
Has trampled me to earth, and round me prest
The chain of slavery, till my swelling heart
Has madden'd into frenzy with the smart.
Yet even then, though thou couldst calm my soul,
With thy soft lisping voice and childish glee,
While clasping thee, sad thoughts would o'er me roll,
Of what must be thy future destiny,
Till my hot tears have wet thy little face,
And thou hast wonder'd at my wild embrace.
But thou art dead!—it ne'er will be thy fate
To tremble at a cruel tyrant's frowns—
To bend in servile toil, to feed his state,
To feel the lash, and hear him mock thy groans.
Then fare thee well!—thy father will not weep,
Or wish to wake thee from thy peaceful sleep.