The African Boy
AH, tell me, little mournful MOOR,
Why still you linger on the shore?
Haste to your play-mates, haste away,
Nor loiter here with fond delay:
When Morn unveil'd her radiant eye,
You hail'd me as I wander'd by;
Returning at th' approach of Eve,
Your meek salute I still receive.
"Benign Enquirer, thou shalt know
Why here my lonesome moments flow:
'Tis said thy Countrymen (no more
Like rav'ning sharks that haunt the shore)
Return to bless, to raise, to cheer,
And pay Compassion's long arrear.
"'Tis said the num'rous Captive Train,
Late bound by the degrading Chain,
Triumphant come, with swelling sails,
'Mid smiling skies, and western gales;
They come with festive heart and glee,
Their hands unshackled---minds as free;
They come at Mercy's great command,
To repossess their native land.
"The gales that o'er the Ocean stray,
And chase the waves in gentle play,
Methinks they whisper as they fly,
JUELLEN soon will meet thine eye!
'Tis this that sooths her little Son,
Blends all his wishes into one:
Ah! were I clasp'd in her embrace,
I wou'd forgive her past disgrace:
Forgive the memorable hour
She fell a prey to tyrant pow'r;
Forgive her lost, distracted air,
Her sorrowing voice, her kneeling pray'r;
The suppliant tears that gall'd her cheek,
And last, her agonizing shriek.
Lock'd in her hair, a ruthless hand
Trail'd her along the flinty strand;
A ruffian train, with clamours rude,
The impious spectacle pursu'd:
Still as she mov'd, in accents wild,
She cried aloud, My child! my child!
The lofty bark she now ascends;
With screams of woe, the air she rends:
The vessel less'ning from the shore,
Her piteous wails I heard no more;
Now as I stretch'd my last survey,
Her distant form dissolv'd away.
"That day is past: I cease to mourn---
Succeeding joy shall have its turn,
Beside the hoarse-resounding deep
A pleasing anxious watch I keep:
For when the morning clouds shall break,
And darts of day the darkness streak,
Perchance along the glitt'ring main,
(Oh, may this hope not throb in vain!)
To meet these long-desiring eyes,
JUELLEN and the Sun may rise."
(Poem available at: http://www.lfc.edu/~blacktj/Slave%20Poems.html)