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Dead bodies, that the kite
In deserts makes its prey ;
Murders, that with affright
Scare schoolboys from their play!
All evil thoughts and deeds;
Anger, and lust, and pride;
The foulest, rankest weeds,
That choke Life's groaning tide!
These are the woes of Slaves;
They glare from the abyss;
They cry, from unknown graves,
“We are the Witnesses !"
THE SLAVE SINGING AT MIDNIGHT.
Loud he sang the Psalm of David !
He, a Negro and enslaved,
Sang of Israel's victory,
Sang of Zion, bright and free.
In that hour, when night is calmest,
Sang he from the Hebrew Psalmist,
In a voice so sweet and clear
That I could not choose but hear.
Songs of triumph, and ascriptions,
Such as reached the swart Egyptians,
When upon the Red Sea coast
Perished Pharaoh and his host.
And the voice of his devotion
Filled my soul with strange emotion;
For its tones by turns were glad,
Sweetly solemn, wildly sad.
Paul and Silas, in their prison,
Sang of Christ, the Lord arisen,
And an earthquake's arm of might
Broke their dungeon-gates at nighi.
But, alas ! what holy angel
Brings the Slave this glad evangel?
And what earthquake's arm of might
Breaks his dungeon-gates at night?
THE QUADROON GIRL
THE Slaver in the broad lagoon
Lay moored with idle sail;
He waited for the rising moon,
And for the evening gale.
Under the shore his boat was tied,
And all her listless crew
Watched the gray alligator slide
Into the still bayou.
Odours of orange-flowers, and spice,
Reached them from time to time,
Like airs that breathe from Paradise
Upon a world of crime.
The Planter, under his roof of thatch,
Smoked thoughtfully and slow;
The Slaver's thumb was on the latch, .
He seemed in haste to go.
He said, “My ship at anchor rides
In yonder broad lagoon;
I only wait the evening tides,
And the rising of the moon.”
Before them, with her face upraised,
In timid attitude,
Like one half curious, half amazed,
A Quadroon maiden stood.
Her eyes were large, and full of light,
Her arms and neck, were bare;
No garment she wore save a kirtle bright,
And her own long, raven hair.
And on her lips there played a smile
As holy, meek, and faint,
As lights in some cathedral aisle
The features of a saint.
“ The soil is barren,—the farm is old;"
The thoughtful Planter said;
Then looked upon the Slaver's gold,
And then upon the maid.
His heart within him was at strife
With such accursèd gains;
For he knew whose passions gave her life,
Whose blood ran in her veins.
But the voice of nature was too weak;
He took the glittering gold !
Then pale as death grew the maiden's cheek,
Her hands as icy cold.
The Slaver led her from the door,
He led her by the hand,
To be his slave and paramour
In a strange and distant land!
THE WARNING. BEWARE! The Israelite of old, who tore
The lion in his path,—when, poor and blind, He saw the blessed light of heaven no more,
Shorn of his noble strength and forced to grind In prison, and at last led forth to be
A pander to Philistine revelry,--. Upon the pillars of the temple laid
His desperate hands, and in its overthrow
Destroyed himself, and with him those who made
A cruel mockery of his sightless woe;
The poor, blind Slave, the scoff and jest of all,
Expired, and thousands perished in the fall!
There is a poor, blind Samson in this land,
Shorn of his strength, and bound in bonds of steel, Who may, in some grim revel, raise his hand,
And shake the pillars of this Commonweal,
Till the vast Temple of our liberties
A shapeless mass of wreck and rubbish lies.
I POLITO" } .......... Students of Alcalá.
TIE COUNT OF LARA .. ... Gentlemen of Madrid.
THE ARCHBISHOP OF TOLEDO.
BELTRAN CRUZADO .
Count of the Gipsies.
BARTOLOME ROMAN . . . . . . . . A young Gipsy.
THE PADRE CURA OF GUADARRAMA.
PEDRO CRESPO . . . . . . . . . Alcalde.
PANCHO . . . . . . . . . . Alguacil.
FRANCISCO . . . . . . . . . . . Lara's Servant.
CHISI'A. . . . . . . . .
.. Victorian's Servant,
BALTASAR . . . . . . . . . . . . Innkeeper.
PRECIOSA . . . . . . .
A Gipsy Girl.
ANGELICA. . . . . . . . . . . . poor Girl.
MARTINA . . . . . . . . . . . . The Padre Cura's Niece.
DOLORES . . . . .
. . . . . Preciosa's Maid.
Gipsies, Musicians, fc.
SCENE I.-The COUNT OF LARA's chambers. Night. The COUNT in his dressing-gown, smoking, and conversing with Don CARLOS.
Lara. You were not at the play to-night, Don Carlos ;
How happened it?
I had engagements elsewhere.
Pray who was there?
Why, all the town and court.
The house was crowded; and the busy fans
Among the gaily dressed and perfumed ladies
Fluttered like butterflies among the flowers.
There was the Countess of Medina Celi;
The Goblin Lady with her Phantom Lover,
Her Lindo Don Diego; Doña Sol,
And Doña Serafina, and her coustus.
Don C. What was the play?
It was a dull affair;
One of those comedies in which you see,
As Lope says,* the history of the world
Brought down from Genesis to the Day of Judgment.
There were three duels fought in the first act,
Three gentlemen receiving deadly wounds,
Laying their hands upon their hearts, and saying,
“Oh, I am dead!” a lover in a closet,
An old hidalgo, and a gay Don Juan,
A Doña Inez with a black mantilla,
Followed at twilight by an unknown lover,
Who looks intently where he knows she is not!
Don C. Of course the Preciosa danced to-night!
Lara. And never better. Every footstep fell
As lightly as a sunbeam on the water.
I think the girl extremely beautiful.
Don C. Almost beyond the privilege of woman!
I saw her in the Prada yesterday.
Her step was royal,-queen-like, - and her face
As beautiful as a saint's in Paradise.
Lara. May not a saint fall from her Paradise,
And be no more a saint ?
Why do you ask?
Lara. Because I have heard it said this angel fell,
And, though she is a virgin outwardly,
Within she is a sinner; like those panels
Of doors and altar-pieces the old monks
Painted in convents, with the Virgin Mary
On the outside, and on the inside Venus !
Don C. You do her wrong; indeed, you do her wrong! She is as virtuous as she is fair.
Lara. How credulous you are! Why, look you, friend,
There's not a virtuous woman in Madrid,
In this whole city! And would you persuade me
That a mere dancing-girl, who shows herself,
Nightly, half-naked, on the stage, for money,
And with voluptuous motions fires the blood
Of inconsiderate youth, is to be held
A model for her virtue?
She is a Gipsy girl.
And therefore won
Don C. Nay, not to be won at all!
The only virtue that a Gipsy prizes
Is chastity. That is her only virtue.
Dearer than life she holds it. I remember
A Gipsy woman, a vile, shameless bawd,
Whose craft was to betray the young and fair;
And yet this woman was above all bribes.
And when a noble lord, touched by her beauty,
The wild and wizard beauty of her race,
Offered her gold to be what she made others,
She turned upon him, with a look of scorn,
And smote him in the face!