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THE NEGRO'S COMPLAINT.
FORCED from home and all its pleasures,
Afric's coast I left forlorn;
O'er the raging billows borne.
Paid my price in paltry gold;
Minds are never to be sold.
Still in thought as free as ever,
What are England's rights, I ask, Me from my delights to sever,
Me to torture, me to task? Fleecy locks and black complexion
Cannot forfeit Nature's claim; Skins may differ, but affection
Dwells in white and black the same.
Why did all-creating Nature,
Make the plant for which we toil? Sighs must fan it, tears must water, Sweat of ours must dress the soil.
Think, ye masters, iron-hearted,
Lolling at your jovial boards; Think how many backs have smarted
For the sweets your cane affords.
Is there, as ye sometimes tell us,
Is there One who reigns on high? Has he bid you buy and sell us,
Speaking from his throne, the sky? Ask him, if your knotted scourges,
Matches, blood extorting screws, Are the means which duty urges,
Agents of his will to use?
Hark! he answers-Wild tornadoes,
Strewing yonder sea with wrecks; Wasting towns, plantations, meadows,
Are the voice with which he speaks : He, foreseeing what vexations
Afric's sons should undergo, Fix'd their tyrants' habitations
Where his whirlwinds answer-No.
By our blood in Afric wasted,
Ere our necks received the chain; By the miseries we have tasted,
Crossing in your barks the main :
By our sufferings, since ye brought uses
To the man-degrading mart:
Only by a broken heart!
Deem our nation brutes no longer,
Till some reason ye shall find Worthier of regard, and stronger
Than the colour of our kind. Slaves of gold, whose sordid dealings
Tarnish all your boasted powers, Prove that you have human feelings,
Ere you proudly question ours !
CRUELTY TO ANIMALS.
BY THE SAME.
I WOULD not enter on my list of friends,
The creeping vermin, loathsome to the sight, And charged perhaps with venom, that intrudes A visitor unwelcome into scenes Sacred to neatness and repose, the alcove, The chamber, or refectory, may die : A necessary act incurs no blame. Not so, when held within their proper bounds, And guiltless of offence, they range the air, Or take their pastime in the spacious field: There they are privileged. And he that hunts Or harms them there, is guilty of a wrong; Disturbs the economy of Nature's realm, Who when she form’d, design'd them an abode. 'The sum is this; if man's convenience, health, Or safety, interfere, his rights and claims Are paramonut, and must extinguish theirs. Else they are all-the meanest things that are, As free to live, and to enjoy that life, As God was free to form them at the first, Who, in his sovereign wisdom, made them all. Ye, therefore, who love mercy, teach your sons To love it too. The spring-time of our years Is soon dishonour'd and defiled, in most, By budding ills, that ask a prudent hand To check them. But, alas ! none sooner shoots, If unrestrain'd, into luxuriant growth, Than cruelty, most devilish of them all. Mercy to bim that shows it, is the rule And righteous limitation of its act,
By which Heaven moves in pardoning guilty man:
BY THE SAME.
The rose had been wash’d, just wash'd in a shower,
Which Mary to Anna convey'd,
And weigh'd down its beautiful head.
The cup was all fill'd, and the leaves were all wet,
And it seem'd to a fanciful view,
On the flourishing bush where it grew.
I hastily seized it, unfit as it was
For a nosegay, so dripping and drown'a, And swinging it rudely, too rudely, alas !
I snapp'd it, it fell to the ground.
And such, I exclaim'd, is the pitiless part
Some act by the delicate mind,
Already to sorrow resign'd.