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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 that 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 re ived the chain; By the miseries that we tasted,

Crossing in your barks the main; By our sufferings, since ye brought us To the man-degrading mart,

All sustain’d by patience, taught us

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 !


“ Video meliora proboque, Deteriora sequor.

I own I am shock'd at the purchase of slaves,
And fear those who buy them and sell them are

What I hear of their hardships, their tortures, and
Is almost enough to draw pity from stones. [groans
I pity them greatly, but I must be mum,
For how could we do without sugar and rum ?
Especially sugar, so needful we see;
What! give up our desserts, our coffee, and tea ?
Besides, if we do, the French, Dutch, and Danes,
Will heartily thank us, no doubt, for our pains :
If we do not buy the poor creatures, they will ;
And tortures and groans will be multiplied still.
If foreigners likewise would give up the trade,
Much more in behalf of your wish might be said ;
But while they get riches by purchasing blacks,
Pray tell me why we may not also go snacks ?
Your scruples and arguments bring to my mind
A story so pat, you may think it is coin'd,
On purpose to answer you, out of my mint;
But I can assure you I saw it in print.

A youngster at school, more sedate than the rest,
Had once his integrity put to the test;
His comrades had plotted an orchard to rob,
And ask'd him to go and assist in the job.
He was shock’d, sir, like you,and answer'd—“Oh, no!
What! rob our good neighbour? I pray you don't go!
Besides the man's poor, his orchard's his bread :
Then think of his children, for they must be fed.”
“You speak very fine, and you look very grave,
But apples we want, and apples we'll have;
If you will go with us, you shall have a share,
If not, you shall have neither apple nor pear.”
They spoke, and Tom ponder'd—“I see they will go
Poor man! what a pity to injure him so !
Poor man! I would save him his fruit if I could,
But staying behind will do him no good.
“ If the matter depended alone upon me,
His apples might hang till they dropp'd from the tree
But since they will take them, I think I'll go too;
He will lose none by me, though I get a few.'
His scruples thus silenced, Tom felt more at ease,
And went with his comrades the apples to seize;
He blamed and protested, but join'd in the plan ;
He shared in the plunder, but pitied the man.


'Twas in the glad season of spring,

Asleep at the dawn of the day, I dream'd what I cannot but sing,

So pleasant it seem'd as I lay. I dream'd that, on ocean afloat,

Far hence to the westward I sail'd, While the billows high lifted the boat,

And the fresh-blowing breeze never fail'd. In the steerage a woman I saw ;

Such at least was the form that she wore,

Whose beauty impress’d me with awe,

Ne'er taught me by woman before. She sat, and a shield at her side

Shed light, like a sun on the waves, And smiling divinely, she cried

“I go to make freemen of slaves.” Then raising her voice to a strain

The sweetest that ear ever heard,
She sung of the slave's broken chain

Wherever her glory appear'd.
Some clouds, which had over us hung,

Fled, chased by her melody clear,
And methought while she liberty sung,

'T was liberty only to hear. Thus swiftly dividing the flood,

To a slave-cultured island we came,
Where a Demon, her enemy, stood-

Oppression his terrible name.
In his hand, as the sign of his sway,

A scourge hung with lashes he bore,
And stood looking out for his prey

From Africa's sorrowful shore. But soon as approaching the land

That goddess-like woman he view'd, The scourge he let fall from his hand,

With blood of his subjects imbrued. I saw him both sicken and die,

And the moment the monster expired, Heard shouts that ascended the sky,

From thousands with rapture inspired. Awaking, how could I but muse

At what such a dream should betide ? But soon my ear caught the glad news,

Which served my weak thought for a guide,– That Britannia, renown'd o'er the waves

For the hatred she ever had shown To the black-sceptred rulers of slaves, Resolves to have none of her own.



A TRADER I am to the African shore,
But since that my trading is like to be o'er,
I'll sing you a song that you ne'er heard before,

Which nobody can deny, deny,

Which nobody can deny.
When I first heard the news it gave me a shock,
Much like what they call an electrical knock,
And now I am going to sell off my stock,

Which nobody can deny.
'Tis a curious assortment of dainty regales,
To tickle the Negroes with when the ship sails,
Fine chains for the neck, and a cat with nine tails,

Which nobody can deny.
Here's supple-jack plenty, and store of rat-tan,
That will wind itself round the sides of a man,
As close as a hoop round a bucket or can,

Which nobody can deny.
Here's padlocks and bolts, and screws for the thumbs,
That squeeze them so lovingly till the blood comes;
They sweeten the temper like comfits or plums,

Which nobody can deny. When a Negro his head from his victuals withdraws, And clenches his teeth and thrusts out his paws, Here's a notable engine to open his jaws,

Which nobody can deny.
Thus going to market, we kindly prepare
A pretty black cargo of African ware,
For what they must meet with when they get there,

Which nobody can deny.
’T would do your heart good to see 'em below
Lie flat on their backs all the way as we go,
Like sprats on a gridiron, scores in a row,

Which nobody can deny.

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