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    THE AFRO-AMERICAN WOMAN IN VERSE.   Table of Contents     THE GRAVE OF THE SLAVE.

Mossell, N.F.
The Work of Afro-American Women

- THE AFRO-AMERICAN WOMAN IN VERSE.
- A FAREWELL TO AMERICA.


A FAREWELL TO AMERICA.


Adieu New England's smiling meads,
Adieu the flowery plain;
I leave thine opening charms, O spring,
To tempt the roaring main.

For thee, Britannia, I resign
New England's smiling fields,
To view again her charms divine,
What joy the prospect yields!

The love of freedom is beautifully expressed in a poem "To the Right Honorable William Earl of

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Dartmouth, His Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for North America."

Hail, happy day, when, smiling like the morn,
Fair Freedom rose New England to adorn:
The northern clime beneath her genial ray,
Dartmouth, congratulates thy blissful sway.
Elate with hope her race no longer mourns,
Each soul expands, each grateful bosom burns.

No more America in mournful strain
Of wrongs and grievance unredressed complain.

Should you, my Lord, while you pursue my song,
Wonder from whence my love of Freedom sprung,
Whence flow these wishes for the common good,
By feeling hearts best understood,
I, young in life, by seeming cruel fate,
Was snatched from Afric's fancied happy seat:
What pangs excruciating must molest,
What sorrow labor in my parents' breast?
Steel'd was the soul and by no misery mov'd
That from a father seized his babe beloved:
Such, such my case. And can I then but pray
Others may never feel tyrannic sway?

We cannot refrain from giving one more proof of the intelligence and genius of this young African poetess. It is dedicated to "The King's Most Excellent Majesty," on the repeal of the Stamp Act.

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Your subjects hope, dread Sire,
The crown upon your brows may flourish long,
And that your arm may in your God be strong.
O may your sceptre num'rous nations sway,
And all with love and readiness obey!

But how shall we the British King reward!
Rule thou in peace, our father and our lord!
Midst the remembrance of thy favors past,
The meanest peasant most admires the last--
May George, belov'd by all the nations round,
Live with the choicest constant blessings crowned!

At the death of Mrs. John Wheatley, Phyllis married John Peters, a grocer of Boston, of whom it is said, "he wore a wig, carried a cane, and quite acted out the 'gentleman.'" But not being a gentleman, except in seeming, he soon grew jealous of the attention his wife received, and by his abuse and harsh treatment shortened her life, her death occurring December 5th, 1784, in the thirty-first year of her life. She was the mother of one child.

Esteemed by all and beloved by many, her influence upon the rapidly growing Anti-Slavery sentiment was considerable. Her works were pointed to as an unanswerable argument in favor of the humanity of the Negro and his capability to receive culture.

From 1784 until 1890, there has not been a volume of poems written by a colored woman published

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in America. Several pamphlets and scattered poems have appeared from time to time in magazines and papers either devoted to the interest of the race or edited by colored men. But the race has never failed through all these long years of bondage to embalm in song and verse the beautiful thoughts that years of ceaseless oppression could not entirely banish from their minds. Through all the long years of slavery, through all the aftermath of the reconstruction era, the weird, plaintive melodies that welled up in their souls passed down from mother to child, and at last bore fruit when sung by the band of singers from the South land, the sweet-voiced Jubilee Singers, who sung a University *

(*) Fisk University, Tenn. into existence.

During the time of the publication of the Liberator, by William Lloyd Garrison, and at the time of the Anti-Slavery movement in Philadelphia, Sarah Forten, a woman of large culture and great refinement, wrote several poems. Some of these were published by Mr. Garrison in the Liberator. We present our readers the following:


    THE AFRO-AMERICAN WOMAN IN VERSE.   Table of Contents     THE GRAVE OF THE SLAVE.