The Slave and Her Babe.
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 fullness 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!