SLAVE'S WRONGS -- Slavery Song

SLAVE'S WRONGS -- Slavery Song

Words by Miss Chandler. Arranged from "Rose of Allandale."

The Scarred Back of a Male Slave, c.1855




The Scarred Back of a Male Slave, c.1855


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With aching brow and wearied limb,
The slave his toil pursued;
And oft I saw the cruel scourge
Deep in his blood imbrued;
He tilled oppression's soil where men
For liberty had bled,
And the eagle wing of Freedom waved
In mockery, o'er his head.

The earth was filled with the triumph shout
Of men who had burst their chains;
But his, the heaviest of them all,
Still lay on his burning veins;
In his master's hall there was luxury,
And wealth, and mental light;
But the very book of the Christian law,
Was hidden from his sight.

In his master's halls there was wine and mirth,
And songs for the newly free;
But his own low cabin was desolate
Of all but misery.
He felt it all--and to bitterness
His heart within him turned;
While the panting wish for liberty,
Like a fire in his bosom burned.

The haunting thought of his wrongs grew changed
To a darker and fiercer hue,
Till the horrible shape it sometimes wore
At last familiar grew;
There was darkness all within his heart,
And madness in his soul;
And the demon spark, in his bosom nursed,
Blazed up beyond control.

Then came a scene! oh! such a scene!
I would I might forget
The ringing sound of the midnight scream,
And the hearth-stone redly wet!
The mother slain while she shrieked in vain
For her infant's threatened life;
And the flying form of the frighted child,
Struck down by the bloody knife.

There's many a heart that yet will start
From its troubled sleep, at night,
As the horrid form of the vengeful slave
Comes in dreams before the sight.
The slave was crushed, and his fetters' link
Drawn tighter than before;
And the bloody earth again was drenched
With the streams of his flowing gore.

Ah! know they not, that the tightest band
Must burst with the wildest power?--
That the more the slave is oppressed and wronged,
Will be fiercer his rising hour?
They may thrust him back with the arm of might,
They may drench the earth with his blood--
But the best and purest of their own,
Will blend with the sanguine flood.

I could tell thee more--but my strength is gone,
And my breath is wasting fast;
Long ere the darkness to-night has fled,
Will my life from the earth have passed:
But this, the sum of all I have learned,
Ere I go I will tell to thee;--
If tyrants would hope for tranquil hearts,
They must let the oppressed go free.

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