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THE SLAVE IN THE DISMAL SWAMP.
In dark fens of the Dismal Swamp
The hunted Negro lay !
And a blood-hound's distant bay.
Where will-o'-the wisps and glow-worms shine,
In bulrush and in brake ; Where waving mosses shroud the pine, And the cedar grows, and the poisonous vine
Is spotted like the snake ;
Where hardly a human foot could pass,
Or a human heart would dare, On the quaking turf of the green morass He crouched, in the rank and tangled grass,
Like a wild beast in his lair.
A poor old slave, infirm and lame;
Great scars deformed his face ; On his forehead he bore the brand of shame, And the rags, that hid his mangled frame,
Were the livery of disgrace.
All things above were bright and fair,
All things were glad and free; Lithe squirrels darted here and there, And wild birds filled the echoing air
With songs of Liberty !
On him alone was the doom of pain,
From the morning of his birth;
I like that ancient Saxon phrase, which calls
The burial-ground God's Acre! It is just; It consecrates each grave within its walls,
And breathes a benison o'er the sleeping dust.
God's Acre ! Yes, that blessed name imparts
Comfort to those, who in the grave have sown The seed, that they had garnered in their
hearts, Their bread of life ; alas ! no more their Into its furrows shall we all be cast,
In the sure faith that we shall rise again, At the great harvest, when the archangel's blast
Shall winnow, like a fan, the chaff and grain ;
Then shall the good stand in immortal bloom,
In the fair gardens of that second birth ; And each bright blossom mingle its perfume With that of flowers which never bloomed on
With thy rude ploughshare, Death, turn up the
sod, And spread the furrow for the seed we sow; · This is the field and Acre of our God, This is the place, where human harvests grow !
AUTUMN IN AMERICA.
With what a glory comes and goes the year !
Comes down upon the Autumn sun, and with
There is a beautiful spirit breathing now Its mellow richness on the clustered trees, And, from a beaker full of richest dyes, Pouring new glory on the Autumn woods, And dipping in warm light the pillowed clouds. Morn on the mountain, like a summer bird, Lifts up her purple wing ; and in the vales The gentle wind, a sweet and passionate wooer, Kisses the blushing leaf, and stirs up life Within the solemn woods of ash deep-crimsoned, And silver beech, and maple yellow-leaved, Where Autumn, like a faint old man, sits down By the wayside aweary. Through the trees The golden robin moves. The purple finch, That on wild cherry and red cedar feeds, A winter bird, comes with its plaintive whistle, And pecks by the witch-hazel ; whilst aloud From cottage roofs the warbling blue-bird sings; . And merrily, with oft repeated stroke, Sounds from the threshing floor the busy flail.
O, what a glory doth this world put on For him who, with a fervent heart goes forth, Under the bright and glorious sky, and looks On duties well performed, and days well spent !
For him the wind, ay, and the yellow leaves, Shall have a voice, and give him eloquent
teachings ; He shall so hear the solemn hymn, that Death Has lifted up for all, that he shall go To his long resting-place without a tear.
The twilight is sad and cloudy,
The wind blows wild and free,
Flash the white caps of the sea.
But in the fisherman's cottage
There shines a ruddier light,
Peers out into the night.
Close, close it is pressed to the window,
As if those childish eyes
To see some form arise.