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What Means That Sad and Dismal Look?


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Words by Geo. Russell.
Arranged from "Near the Lake," by G. W. C.

What means that sad and dismal look,
And why those falling tears?
No voice is heard, no word is spoke,
Yet nought but grief appears.


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Ah! Mother, hast thou ever known
The pain of parting ties?
Was ever infant from thee torn
And sold before thine eyes?

Say, would not grief thy bosom swell?
Thy tears like rivers flow?
Should some rude ruffian seize and sell
The child thou lovest so?

There's feeling in a Mother's breast,
Though colored be her skin!
And though at Slavery's foul behest,
She must not weep for kin.

I had a lovely, smiling child,
It sat upon my knee;
And oft a tedious hour beguiled,
With merry heart of glee.

That child was from my bosom torn,
And sold before my eyes;
With outstretched arms and looks forlorn,
I uttered piteous cries.

Mother! dear Mother! — take, O take
Thy helpless little one!
Ah! then I thought my heart would break;
My child — my child was gone.

Long, long ago, my child they stole,
But yet my grief remains;
These tears flow freely — and my soul
In bitterness complains.

Then ask not why "my dismal look,"
Nor why my "falling tears,"
Such wrongs, what human heart can brook?
No hope for me appears.