|THE MARTYRS OF TO-DAY.|
By the swiftly flowing rivers,
In the fertile Southern land,
Gathered there from lane and highway,
Scores of men, an earnest band.
Not with brows of snowy whiteness,
Not with chiseled features rare;163Rather cheeks of sable darkness,
Yet was God's own image there.
Do they fear the chain of bondage?
Do they fear the lash or mart?
Slaves ignoble! do they tremble--
Sadly lack the freeman's heart?
See, one in their midst--a brother --
Reads of blood and deeds of pain--
Deeds of cruelty and outrage--
That with horror chill each vein.
He, with solemn tone and gesture,
Furrowed brow and wearied hand,
Reads this tale so weird and solemn,
To this earnest, thinking band.
In the silence of the midnight,
Decked in robes of dingy white,
On their foamed and maddened chargers,
And with features hid from sight,
Ride a band of fearless South'rons,
With a ruthless iron will;
Ride their foamed and maddened chargers,
Through the vale and o'er the hill.
And they give to none the quarter
Which the brave are wont to give;
Man nor woman, babe nor suckling,
Be they black, are 'lowed to live.
These now all were made to perish
By the flower of Southern life;
And the deed is yet commended
By both Southern maid and wife.
Long, too long, our race has suffered,
Both from church and school and state;
Trade and ballot long denied us,
Yet our friends still council, wait.
Must we then, give up the struggle
Must we sail for Afric's shore?
Must we leave this land we've toiled in
Must it swim again with gore?
Must we wait with greater patience?
Must we say, "Oh, Lord, forgive?
Must we love these worse than foemen,
Who forbid us die or live?
We must ponder Calvary's lesson;
View our martyred Saviour's fate;
Work and pray, with faith in heaven;
Right must conquer -- therefore wait.