Our Countrymen in Chains.
Words by Whittier.
"Beatitude," by T. Hastings.
Our fellow countrymen in chains,
Slaves in a land of light and law!
Slaves crouching on the very plains
Where rolled the storm of Freedom's war!
A groan from Eutaw's haunted wood
A wail where Camden's martyrs fell
By every shrine of patriot blood,
From Moultrie's wall and Jasper's well.
By storied hill and hallow'd grot,
By mossy wood and marshy glen,
Whence rang of old the rifle-shot,
And hurrying shout of Marion's men!
The groan of breaking hearts is there —
The falling lash — the fetter's clank!
Slaves — SLAVES are breathing in that air,
Which old De Kalb and Sumter drank!
What, ho! — our countrymen in chains!
The whip on WOMAN'S shrinking flesh!
Our soil yet reddening with the stains,
Caught from her scourging, warm and fresh!
What! mothers from their children riven!
What! God's own image bought and sold!
AMERICANS to market driven,
And barter'd as the brute for gold!
Speak! shall their agony of prayer
Come thrilling to our hearts in vain?
To us, whose fathers scorn'd to bear
The paltry menace of a chain;
To us, whose boast is loud and long
Of holy Liberty and Light —
Say, shall these writhing slaves of wrong,
Plead vainly for their plunder'd Right?
Shall every flap of England's flag
Proclaim that all around are free,
From "farthest Ind" to each blue crag
That beetles o'er the Western Sea?
And shall we scoff at Europe's kings,
When Freedom's fire is dim with us,
And round our country's altar clings
The damning shade of Slavery's curse?
Just God! and shall we calmly rest,
The Christian's scorn — the Heathen's mirth —
Content to live the lingering jest
And by-word of a mocking Earth?
Shall our own glorious land retain
That curse which Europe scorns to bear?
Shall our own brethren drag the chain
Which not even Russia's menials wear?
Down let the shrine of Moloch sink,
And leave no traces where it stood;
No longer let its idol drink
His daily cup of human blood;
But rear another altar there,
To Truth, and Love, and Mercy given,
And Freedom's gift, and Freedom's prayer,
Shall call an answer down from Heaven.