The Poetical Works of Elizabeth Margaret Chandler/The Slave

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The Slave[edit]

It was a glorious sunset hour:—a scent
Of rich perfume, from many a twisted wreath
Of summer blossoms, clustering in their wild
And free profusion, ‘neath a southern sky,
Came on the evening breeze, and streams went by
With a glad tone, and the hush'd birds came forth
From the thick woods, and lifted up the voice
Of their hearts’ mirthful music. Painted wings
Were fluttering on the breeze, and the bees’ hum
Made a glad melody.—

At a hill's foot,
Beside a gushing stream, and ‘neath a clump
Of close embowering trees, there stood a cot,
At whose low door a mother sung to rest,
With a sad lullaby, her infant boy.

I.

These southern climes are bright, are bright,
With their gorgeous summer flowers!
But I would my head might rest to-night
In my own loved native bowers:
They say this land is proudly blest
All other lands above,
But afar from here is the spot, that best
In the wide, wide world I love.

II.

It may want the perfumed airs of this,
It may want the glorious clime—
But there is the thought of all the bliss
Of my happy childhood's time.
Better to roam ‘neath burning skies,
Upon wastes of desert sand,
Than to load the air with slavery's sighs,
And to wear on your heart its brand.

III.

Rest, love, and sleep—for thine infant years
Are a dream that knows no sorrow;
Too soon wilt thou waken to bitter tears,
When manhood shall come like the morrow.
Rest, love, rest!—for thou know'st not yet,
What a fearful doom is o'er thee!
That the name of slave on thy brow is set,
And a life of woe before thee.