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For, as that saved of bird and beast
A pair for propagation,
And furnished half the nation.
Kings sit, they say, in slippery seats ;
But those slant precipices
Less slippery are than this is ;
Of royal man or woman,
Is more or less than human.
I offer to all bores this perch,
Dear well-intentioned people With heads as void as week-day church,
Tongues longer than the steeple; To folks with missions, whose gaunt eyes
See golden ages rising, Salt of the earth ! in what queer Guys
Thou’rt fond of crystallizing ! My wonder, then, was not unmixed
'With merciful suggestion, When, as my roving eyes grew
A figure grim and rusty,
Were something worn and dusty.
Merely to fill the street with, Once turned to ghosts by hungry worms,
Are serious things to meet with ;
Your penitent spirits are no jokes,
And, though I'm not averse to A quiet shade, even they are folks
One cares not to speak first to.
Who knows, thought I, but he has come,
By Charon kindly ferried, To tell me of a mighty sum Behind
my wainscoat buried ? There is a buccaneerish air
About that garb outlandish-
And said, “ My name is Standish.
“I come from Plymouth, deadly bored
With toasts, and songs, and speeches, As long and flat as my old sword,
As threadbare as my breeches : They understand us Pilgrims! they,
Smooth men with rosy faces, Strength's knots and gnarls all pared away,
And varnish in their places !
“ We had some toughness in our grain,
The eye to rightly see us is
Of drawing-room Tyrtæuses :
Their birthright high and holy !
Methinks is melancholy.
“ He had stiff knees, the Puritan,
That were not good at bending; The homespun dignity of man
He thought was worth defending;
He did not, with his pinchbeck ore,
His country's shame forgotten, Gild Freedom's coffin o'er and o'er,
When all within was rotten.
“ These loud ancestral boasts of yours,
How can they else than vex us? Where were your dinner orators
When slavery grasped at Texas ? Dumb on his knees was every one
That now is bold as Cæsar,— Mere pegs to hang an office on
Such stalwart men as these are."
6 Good Sir,” I said, “you seem much stirred ;
The sacred compromises“ Now God confound the dastard word !
My gall thereat arises : Northward it hath this sense alone,
That you, your conscience blinding, Shall bow your fool's nose to the stone,
When slavery feels like grinding.
“ 'Tis shame to see such painted sticks
In Vane's and Winthrop's places,
Drag humbly in the traces,
And herds of office-holders
It peels her patient shoulders.
"We forefathers to such a rout!
No, by my faith in God's word ! Half rose the ghost, and half drew out
The ghost of his old broadswoid,
Then thrust it slowly back again,
And said, with reverent gesture, “ No, Freedom, no! blood should not stain
The hem of thy white vesture. “ I feel the soul in me draw near
The mount of prophesying; In this bleak wilderness I hear
A John the Baptist crying; Far in the east I see upleap
The streaks of first forewarning, And they who sowed the light shall reap
The golden sheaves of morning. “ Child of our travail and our woe,
Light in our day of sorrow, Through my rapt spirit I foreknow
The glory of thy morrow;
Draw nigher still and nigher,
The prophet come up higher.”
I looked, no form mine eyes could find,
I heard the red cock crowing, And through my window-chinks the wind
A dismal tune was blowing ;
Hath somewhat in him gritty,
And he will print my ditty.
ON THE CAPTURE OF CERTAIN FUGI
TIVE SLAVES NEAR WASHINGTON.
Look on who will in apathy, and stifle they who
can, The sympathies, the hopes, the words, that make
man truly man; Let those whose hearts are dungeoned up with
interest or with ease Consent to hear with quiet pulse of loathsome
deeds like these !
I first drew in New England's air, and from her
hardy breast Sucked in the tyrant-hating milk that will not let
me rest; And if my words seem treason to the dullard and
the tame, 'Tis but my Bay-State dialect,-our fathers spake
the same !
Shame on the costly mockery of piling stone on
stone To those who won our liberty, the heroes dead and
gone, While we look coldly on, and see law-shielded
ruffians slay The men who fain would win their own, the heroes
of to-day ! Are we pledged to craven silence ? ( fling it to
the wind, The parchment wall that bars us from the least of