Sarah Louisa Forten

The Slave

Our sires who once in freedom's cause,
Their boasted freedom sought and won,
For deeds of glory gained applause,
When patriot feelings led them on.
And can their sons now speak with pride,
Of rights for which they bled and died,-
Or while the captive is oppressed,
Think of the wrongs they once redress'd?
Oh, surely they have quite forgot,
That bondage once had been their lot;
The sweets of freedom now they know,
They care not for the captive's wo.
The poor wronged slave can bear no part
In feelings dearest to his heart;
He cannot speak on freedom's side,
Nor dare he own a freeman's pride.
His soul is dark, ay dark as night,
O'er which is shed no gleam of light;
A cloud of error, doubt and fear,
O'er him is ever hovering near;
And sad and hard his lot must be,
To know that he can ne'er be free;
To feel that his is doomed to be
A life, and death, of slavery.
But will not justice soon arise,
And plead the cause of the despised?
For oh! my country, must it be,
That they still find a foe in thee?