“Let the Light Enter”
Learning to Read
To The Union Savers Of Cleveland
Men of Cleveland, had a vulture
Sought a timid dove for prey
Would you not, with human pity,
Drive the gory bird away?
Had you seen a feeble lambkin,
Shrinking from a wolf so bold,
Would ye not to shield the trembler,
In your arms have made its fold?
But when she, a hunted sister,
Stretched her hands that ye might save,
Colder far than Zembla’s regions,
Was the answer that ye gave.
On the Union’s bloody altar,
Was your hapless victim laid;
Mercy, truth, and justice shuddered,
But your hands would give no aid.
And ye sent her back to the torture,
Robbed of freedom and of fright.
Thrust the wretched, captive stranger.
Back to slavery’s gloomy night.
Back where brutal men may trample,
On her honor and her fame;
And unto her lips so dusky,
Press the cup of woe and shame.
There is blood upon our city,
Dark and dismal is the stain;
And your hands would fail to cleanse it,
Though Lake Erie ye should drain.
There’s a curse upon your Union,
Fearful sounds are in the air;
As if thunderbolts were framing,
Answers to the bondsman’s prayer.
Ye may offer human victims,
Like the heathen priests of old;
And may barter manly honor
For the Union and for gold.
But ye can not stay the whirlwind,
When the storm begins to break;
And our God doth rise in judgment,
For the poor and needy’s sake.
And, your sin-cursed, guilty Union,
Shall be shaken to its base,
Till ye learn that simple justice,
Is the right of every race.
Bury Me in a Free Land
Make me a grave where’er you will, In a lowly plain, or a lofty hill; Make it among earth’s humblest graves, But not in a land where men are slaves. I could not rest if around my grave I heard the steps of a trembling slave; His shadow above my silent tomb Would make it a place of fearful gloom. I could not rest if I heard the tread Of a coffle gang to the shambles led, And the mother’s shriek of wild despair Rise like a curse on the trembling air. I could not sleep if I saw the lash Drinking her blood at each fearful gash, And I saw her babes torn from her breast, Like trembling doves from their parent nest. I’d shudder and start if I heard the bay Of bloodhounds seizing their human prey, And I heard the captive plead in vain As they bound afresh his galling chain. If I saw young girls from their mother’s arms Bartered and sold for their youthful charms, My eye would flash with a mournful flame, My death-paled cheek grow red with shame. I would sleep, dear friends, where bloated might Can rob no man of his dearest right; My rest shall be calm in any grave Where none can call his brother a slave. I ask no monument, proud and high, To arrest the gaze of the passers-by; All that my yearning spirit craves, Is bury me not in a land of slaves.