Heard (Henderson), Josephine D.
|PART III.-- THE RACE PROBLEM.|
THERE'S a Sampson, lying, sleeping in the land,
He shall soon awake, and with avenging hand,
In an all unlooked for hour,
He will rise in mighty power;
What dastard can his righteous rage withstand?
E'er since the chains were given at a stroke,
E'er since the dawn of Freedom's morning broke,
He has groaned, but scarcely uttered,
While his patient tongue ne'r muttered,
Though in agony he bore the galling yoke.
O, what cruelty and torture has he felt?
Could his tears, the heart of his oppressor melt?
In his gore they bathed their hands,
Organized and lawless bands--
And the innocent was left in blood to welt.
The mighty God of Nations doth not sleep,
His piercing eye its faithful watch doth keep,
And well nigh His mercy's spent,
To the ungodly lent:
"They have sowed the wind, the whirlwind they
From His nostrils issues now the angry smoke,
And asunder bursts the all-oppressive yoke;
When the prejudicial heel
Shall be lifted, we shall feel,
That the hellish spell surrounding us is broke.
The mills are grinding slowly, slowly on,
And till the very chaff itself is gone;
Our cries for justice louder,
'Till oppression's ground to powder--
God speed the day of retribution on!
Fair Columbia's family garments all are stained;
In her courts is blinded justice rudely chained;
The black Sampson is awaking,
And his fetters fiercely breaking;
By his mighty arm his rights shall be obtained!
THEY are coming, coming slowly--
They are coming, surely, surely--
In each avenue you hear the steady tread.
From the depths of foul oppression,
Comes a swarthy-hued procession,
And victory perches on their banners' head.
They are coming, coming slowly--
They are coming; yes, the lowly,
No longer writhing in their servile bands.90From the rice fields and plantation
Comes a factor of the nation,
And threatening, like Banquo's ghost, it stands.
They are coming, coming proudly--
They are crying, crying loudly:
O, for justice from the rulers of the land!
And that justice will be given,
For the mighty God of heaven
Holds the balance of power in his hand.
Prayers have risen, risen, risen
From the cotton fields and prison;
Though the overseer stood with lash in hand,
Groaned the overburdened heart;
Not a tear-drop dared to start--
But the Slaves' petition reach'd the glory-land.
They are coming, they are coming,
From away in tangled swamp,
Where the slimy reptile hid its poisonous head;
Through the long night and the day,
They have heard the bloodhounds' bey,
While the morass furnished them an humble bed.
They are coming, rising, rising,
And their progress is surprising,
By their brawny muscles earning daily bread;
Though their wages be a pittance,
Still each week a small remittance,
Builds a shelter for the weary toiling head.
They are coming, they are coming--
Listen! You will hear the humming
Of the thousands that are falling into line:
There are Doctors, Lawyers, Preachers;
There are Sculptors, Poets, Teachers--
Men and women, who with honor yet shall shine.
They are coming, coming boldly,
Though the Nation greets them coldly;
They are coming from the hillside and the plain.
With their scars they tell the story
Of the canebrakes wet and gory,
Where their brothers' bones lie bleaching with the slain.
They are coming, coming singing,
Their thanksgiving hymn is ringing.
For the clouds are slowly breaking now away,
And there comes a brighter dawning--
It is liberty's fair morning,
They are coming surely, coming, clear the way.
Yes, they come, their stepping's steady,
And their power is felt already--
God has heard the lowly cry of the oppressed:
And beneath his mighty frown,
Every wrong shall crumble down,
When the right shall triumph and the world be blest!
OUR Richard Allen in his early youth,
Sought out and found the way of light and truth;
His heart with holy impulse was stirred,
And boldly forth he went to preach the word.
Sometimes he had not even a resting-place--
Footsore and weary, still he cried free grace;
And yet in pastures green the shepherd fed,
And by the cooling stream was often led.
Year after year is born and glides away;
Generations rise and flourish and decay;
Flowers bud and blossom, fade and fall,
But eternal truth outlives them all.
And so a hundred years have passed away,
Since the immortal Allen's natal day;
And where he sleeps the sun's departing ray
Long lingers, o'er that hallowed heap of clay.
He came of humble parentage to earth;
A slave was he of meek and lowly birth;
A bondsman dared not even raise his voice,
Nor o'er his young, his darling child rejoice.
But God his promises, has ever kept,
And the foul stigma from this land is swept--
At last the slavish chains forever broke,
And falls at last the bondman's galling yoke.
As they march on you hear their steady tread,
With Allen's banner waving overhead;
The cause of Christ to distant islands borne--
O, flourish till the resurrection morn!