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The Slave and her Babe.


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Words by Charlotte Elizabeth.

"Can a woman forget her sucking child?"
Air — "Slave Girl mourning her Father.

O, massa, let me stay, to catch
My baby's sobbing breath;
His little glassy eye to watch,
And smooth his limbs in death
And cover him with grass and leaf,
Beneath the plantain tree!
It is not sullenness, but grief —
O, massa, pity me!

God gave me babe — a precious boon,
To cheer my lonely heart,
But massa called to work too soon,
And I must needs depart.
The morn was chill — I spoke no word,
But feared my babe might die,
And heard all day, or thought I heard,
My little baby cry.

At noon — O, how I ran! and took
My baby to my breast!
I lingered — and the long lash broke
My sleeping infant's rest.
I worked till night — till darkest night,
In torture and disgrace;
Went home, and watched till morning light,
To see my baby's face.

The fulness from its cheek was gone,
The sparkle from its eye;
Now hot, like fire, now cold, like stone,
I knew my babe must die.
I worked upon plantation ground,
Though faint with woe and dread,
Then ran, or flew, and here I found —
See massa, almost dead.

Then give me but one little hour —
O! do not lash me so!
One little hour — one little hour —
And gratefully I'll go.
Ah me! the whip has cut my boy,
I heard his feeble scream;
No more — farewell my only joy,
My life's first gladsome dream!

I lay thee on the lonely sod,
The heaven is bright above;
These Christians boast they have a God,
And say his name is Love:
O gentle, loving God, look down!
My dying baby see;
The mercy that from earth is flown,
Perhaps may dwell with THEE!