“Slavery,” Darwin (Freedom’s Journal)

[Freedom’s Journal, 9/7/1827.]

SLAVERY [Unattributed excerpt from Erasmus Darwin, Enlightenment thinker and grandfather to Charles Darwin]

“Hark! Heard ye not that piercing cry,
Which shook the waves and rent the sky!
E’en now, e’en now on yonder western shore
Weeps pale Despair and writhing anguish roars:
In dark Missouri now with hideous yell,
Fierce SLAVERY stalks, and slips the dogs of hell;
From vale to vale the gathering cries rebound,
And sable nations tremble at the sound!
YE LEGISLATORS! ye whose suffrage sways
Columbia’s land, where none to despot homage pays;
Who right the injured and reward the brave,
Stretch your strong arm, for ye have power to save!
Throned in the vaulted heart, his dread resort,
Inexorable CONSCIENCE holds his court;
With still small voice the plots of guilt alarms,
Bares his mask’d brow, his lifted hand disarms;
But, wrapt in night with terrors all his own,
He speaks in thunder, WHEN THE DEED IS DONE!
Hear him, ye SENATES! hear this truth sublime,
No radiant pearl, which crested Fortune wears,
No gem, that twinkling hangs from Beauty’s ears,
Not the bright stars, which night’s blue arch adorn,
Nor rising Suns that gild the vernal morn,
Shine with such lustre as the tear that breaks
For other’s wo down Virtue’s manly cheeks.”

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