“Imploring to be Resigned at Death” by George Moses Horton (1798–1884)


Imploring to be Resigned at Death

By GEORGE MOSES HORTON

Let me die and not tremble at death,
But smile at the close of my day,
And then, at the flight of my breath,
Like a bird of the morning in May,
Go chanting away.

Let me die without fear of the dead,
No horrors my soul shall dismay,
And with faith’s pillow under my head,
With defiance to mortal decay,
Go chanting away.

Let me die like a son of the brave,
And martial distinction display,
Nor shrink from a thought of the grave,
No, but with a smile from the clay,
Go chanting away.

Let me die glad, regardless of pain,
No pang to this world to betray;
And the spirit cut loose from its chain,
So loath in the flesh to delay,
Go chanting away.

Let me die, and my worst foe forgive,
When death veils the last vital ray;
Since I have but a moment to live,
Let me, when the last debt I pay,
Go chanting away.

“Liberty and Slavery” by George Moses Horton (1798 – 1884)


On Liberty and Slavery

Alas! and am I born for this,
To wear this slavish chain?
Deprived of all created bliss,
Through hardship, toil and pain!
How long have I in bondage lain,
And languished to be free!
Alas! and must I still complain—
Deprived of liberty.
Oh, Heaven! and is there no relief
This side the silent grave—
To soothe the pain—to quell the grief
And anguish of a slave?
Come Liberty, thou cheerful sound,
Roll through my ravished ears!
Come, let my grief in joys be drowned,
And drive away my fears.
Say unto foul oppression, Cease:
Ye tyrants rage no more,
And let the joyful trump of peace,
Now bid the vassal soar.
Soar on the pinions of that dove
Which long has cooed for thee,
And breathed her notes from Afric’s grove,
The sound of Liberty.
Oh, Liberty! thou golden prize,
So often sought by blood—
We crave thy sacred sun to rise,
The gift of nature’s God!
Bid Slavery hide her haggard face,
And barbarism fly:
I scorn to see the sad disgrace
In which enslaved I lie.
Dear Liberty! upon thy breast,
I languish to respire;
And like the Swan unto her nest,
I’d like to thy smiles retire.
Oh, blest asylum—heavenly balm!
Unto thy boughs I flee—
And in thy shades the storm shall calm,
With songs of Liberty!

“George Moses Horton, Myself” by George Moses Horton (1797? – 1883?)


George Moses Horton, Myself

I feel myself in need
   Of the inspiring strains of ancient lore,
My heart to lift, my empty mind to feed,
   And all the world explore.
I know that I am old
   And never can recover what is past,
But for the future may some light unfold
   And soar from ages blast.
I feel resolved to try,
   My wish to prove, my calling to pursue,
Or mount up from the earth into the sky,
   To show what Heaven can do.
My genius from a boy,
   Has fluttered like a bird within my heart;
But could not thus confined her powers employ,
   Impatient to depart.
She like a restless bird,
   Would spread her wing, her power to be unfurl’d,
And let her songs be loudly heard,
   And dart from world to world.