Addressed to the Patrons of the Pennsylvania Freeman.
THE wave is breaking on the shore,
The echo fading from the chime
Again the shadow moveth o’er
The dial-plate of time!
O seer-seen Angel! waiting now
With weary feet on sea and shore,
Impatient for the last dread vow
That time shall be no more!
Once more across thy sleepless eye
The semblance of a smile has passed:
The year departing leaves more nigh
Time’s fearfullest and last.
Oh, in that dying year hath been
The sum of all since time began;
The birth and death, the joy and pain,
Of Nature and of Man.
Spring, with her change of sun and shower,
And streams released from Winter’s chain,
And bursting bud, and opening flower,
And greenly growing grain;
And Summer’s shade, and sunshine warm,
And rainbows o’er her hill-tops bowed,
And voices in her rising storm;
God speaking from His cloud!
And Autumn’s fruits and clustering sheaves,
And soft, warm days of golden light,
The glory of her forest leaves,
And harvest-moon at night;
And Winter with her leafless grove,
And prisoned stream, and drifting snow,
The brilliance of her heaven above
And of her earth below;
And man, in whom an angel’s mind
With earth’s low instincts finds abode,
The highest of the links which bind
Brute nature to her God;
His infant eye bath seen the light,
His childhood’s merriest laughter rung,
And active sports to manlier might
The nerves of boyhood strung!
And quiet love, and passion’s fires,
Have soothed or burned in manhood’s breast,
And lofty aims and low desires
By turns disturbed his rest.
The wailing of the newly-born
Has mingled with the funeral knell;
And o’er the dying’s ear has gone
The merry marriage-bell.
And Wealth has filled his halls with mirth,
While Want, in many a humble shed,
Toiled, shivering by her cheerless hearth,
The live-long night for bread.
And worse than all, the human slave,
The sport of lust, and pride, and scorn!
Plucked off the crown his Maker gave,
His regal manhood gone!
Oh, still, my country! o’er thy plains,
Blackened with slavery’s blight and ban,
That human chattel drags his chains,
An uncreated man!
And still, where’er to sun and breeze,
My country, is thy flag unrolled,
With scorn, the gazing stranger sees
A stain on every fold.
Oh, tear the gorgeous emblem down!
It gathers scorn from every eye,
And despots smile and good men frown
Whene’er it passes by.
Shame! shame! its starry splendors glow
Above the slaver’s loathsome jail;
Its folds are ruffling even now
His crimson flag of sale.
Still round our country’s proudest hall
The trade in human flesh is driven,
And at each careless hammer-fall
A human heart is riven.
And this, too, sanctioned by the men
Vested with power to shield the right,
And throw each vile and robber den
Wide open to the light.
Yet, shame upon them! there they sit,
Men of the North, subdued and still;
Meek, pliant poltroons, only fit
To work a master’s will.
Sold, bargained off for Southern votes,
A passive herd of Northern mules,
Just braying through their purchased throats
Whate’er their owner rules.
And he,  the basest of the base,
The vilest of the vile, whose name,
Embalmed in infinite disgrace,
Is deathless in its shame!
A tool, to bolt the people’s door
Against the people clamoring there,
An ass, to trample on their floor
A people’s right of prayer!
Nailed to his self-made gibbet fast,
Self-pilloried to the public view,
A mark for every passing blast
Of scorn to whistle through;