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TO MY FIRST-BORN (5)
04.11.2013, 18:32
Beitrag: #1
TO MY FIRST-BORN (5)
TO MY FIRST-BORN.

I

Heaven's long-desired gift ! my first-born child !
Pledge of the purest love ! my darling son !
Now do I feel a father's bliss begun, —
A father's hopes and fears, — babe undefiled!

Should' st thou be spared, I could be reconciled
Better to martyrdom, — so may be won
Freedom for all, and servile chains undone.
For if, amid this conflict, fierce and wild,

With the stout foes of God and man, I fall,
Then shalt thou early fill my vacant post,
And, pouring on the winds a trumpet-call,
Charge valiantly Oppression's mighty host:
So captive millions thou shalt disenthral,
And, through the mighty God, of victory boast.


II

Remember, when thou com'st to riper years,
That unto God, from earliest infancy,
Thy grateful father dedicated thee,
And sought His guidance through this vale of tears.

Fear God — then disregard all other fears ;
Be, in His Truth, erect, majestic, free;
Abhor Oppression — cling to Liberty —
Nor recreant prove, though horrid Death appears.

I charge thee, in the name of Him who died
On Calvary's cross, — an ignominious fate, —
If thou wouldst reign with the Great Crucified,
Thy reputation and thy life to hate :

Thus shalt thou save them both, nor be denied
A glittering crown and throne of heavenly state !


III

Flesh of my flesh ! now that I see thy form,
And catch the starry brilliance of thine eyes,
And hear — sweet music ! thy infantile cries,
And feel in thee the life-blood beating warm,

Strange thoughts within me- generate and swarm ;
Streams of emotion, overflowing, rise ;
Such joy thy birth affords, and glad surprise,
O nursling of the sunshine and the storm !

Bear witness, Heaven ! do I hate Slavery less, —
Do I not hate it more, intensely more, —
Now this dear babe I to my bosom press ?
My soul is stirred within me — ne'er before
Have horrors filled it with such dire excess,
Nor pangs so deep pierced to its inmost core !


IV

Bone of my bone ! not all Golconda's gold
Is worth the value of a hair of thine !
Yet is the Negro's babe as dear as mine —
Formed in as pure and glorious a mould ;

But, ah ! inhumanly 'tis seized and sold !
Thou hast a soul immortal and divine,
My priceless jewel ! — In a sable shrine
Lies a bright gem, ' bought with a price ' untold !

A little lower than th' angelic train
Art thou created, and a monarch's power,
My potent infant ! with a wide domain,

O'er beast, bird, fish, and insect, is thy dower :
The Negro's babe with thee was made to reign —
As high in dignity and worth to tower !


V.

O, dearest child of all this populous earth !
Yet no more precious than the meanest slave !
To rescue thee from bondage, I would brave
All dangers, and count life of little worth,

And make of stakes and gibbets scornful mirth !
Am I not perilling as much to save,
E'en now, from bonds, a race who freedom crave ?
To bless the sable infant from its birth ?

Yet I am covered with reproach and scorn,
And branded as a madman through the land !
But, loving thee, free one, my own first-born,
I feel for all who wear an iron band —
So Heaven regard my son when I am gone,
And aid and bless him with a liberal hand !
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