The Mote and Beam.
The granite crags, the bounding rills,
And all the winter’s dazzling host;
Won ‘midst the battle’s thundering flames,
And up whose bays and on whose shores
Commerce her gay abundance pours,
Pause—it is well to ask if thou
Hast not a stain on hand or brow?
Thy name rings on through every clime,
Thy sails are spread to every breeze,
Thy masts are white with Arctic
They bend before the Tropic seas;
Thine was the dower in other days
Of patriot’s voice and hero’s lays,
And many a lion-heart was found
In thee; thy vales were hold ground;
And from thy many churches rose,
Through mornings’ blaze or evening’s close,
A grateful incense unto Him
Before whose face the sun is dim;
And high-born Honor walked with thee,
And Faith sad sweet-eyed Charity;
But the eternal winds of Change,
That o’er creation’s bosom range,
Have blown on thee, and thou art not
The same in beauty, heart or thought!
Thy laurels now are worn by fools,
Or brawling faction’s mindless tools;
Thy churches, how like empty cells!
Or crammed with rogues and infidels—
Where spiders starve, or Mormons sprawl,
And Garrisons and Cheevers bawl;
Another race now spread thy fame—
Race skilled to play the double game
Of sycophant, or warrior bold,
With lucre bought, for lucre sold.
Yea, tell me, who are they that stand
The foremost in thy councils now?
The men who wear the hateful brand
Of Cain stamped on the brain or brow!
Thou, too, hast gold and copper slaves,
More than thy “green hills” are thy knaves!
With loathing frown and rancorous mouth
You curse your neighbors of the South
Cease, cease that Puritanic growl,
Put off that hypocritic scowl!
For you the tallow rice-field blooms,
The cotton waves its downy plumes;
For you the luscious cane-juice flows
And negroes wipe their dripping brows;
Forego that spiteful, maniac glare,
Yea, bid your saintly “clergy” tell—
Tell if the thief and they who share
Sink not unto the same red hell;
Slaves till the soil—slaves press the cane,
And pull the snow-white cotton ball;
With iron fist you grasp the gain—
Too pure, you think to catch a stain—
And in that blood-bought luxury roll,
If it be such; but for your gold,
Few human heads to-day were sold;
Your ships first brought them o’er the waves,
You first that gloomy traffic planned,
The negro from his native land
Was torn by your piratic hand;
Your merchants love the favouring gales
Which blow to them the Southern bales;
For them no air has such a balm,
Our sound so like a Sabbath psalm,
As that which, with the snowy down,
Tobacco clusters darkly brown,
And sugar-casks their wharves invade,
Though stained with that “Accursed trade;”
They give their wealth and drop a curse
On those who fill their greedy purse,
With gold wrung from the negro’s bands,
But has it ever burnt their hands?
Which think you has the deadlier grip’
Your avarice or the Southern tether?
Which forms the bloodier, fiercer whip,
A lash of gold or braided leather?
They sow the seed, you seize the grain,
They scatter and you reap again;
The hands that share the spoil with those
Which deal the gory murderous blows
Alike shall feel the avenger’s rod,
The curse of man, the fires of God!
And one for those whose hands prepare,
By stealth, the swift piratic bark,
Across the Eastern wave to steer.
And waft its swarthy cargo o’er
Some spiteful chronicles have said
Your deacons drive that dubious trade—
Yea, pray for each, and thankful be,
Their sweat will swell your salary;
But cease that Puritanic growl,
Put of that hypocritic scowl,
That sanctimonious vail may blow
Aside; that smile may one day show
The dragon scales that gleam below!