Open main menu

EmancipationEdit

[The piece below, was written upon the perusal of an article
in a newspaper, announcing the Decree issued by the Executive
of the Republic of Mexico, totally abolishing the system of Slavery
within its limits, on the anniversary of National Independence,
in the year 1829.]


Gladness in Mexico! A pealing shout,
From franchised men, goes proudly o'er her hills;
And the rich hymn is swelling up to Heaven,
Bearing the full heart's gratitude. No more
The wild bird springing upward from its nest,
Or the free waters in their gushing glee,
Seem taunting man that they are masterless,
While his proud thoughts and swelling pulse are crush'd
Beneath vile bonds. No more at eventide,
The serf stalks gloomily to seek a home,
He scarce can call his own; or goes at dawn
Unwillingly to toil:—the heavy spell,
That ‘numb'd his veins with leaden sluggishness,
Hath lost its power; and now, his glad limbs bound
Across the glorious earth, as though they were
Nought but an essence. Hear ye not the voice
Of his wild carol pour'd upon the air,
As like the woodland bird “with folded wing
He drops into his nest”—or goes at morn,
With light and eager spirit to the toil
From which no hand withholds the just reward!
Oh, it is sweet to wear a heart, whose throbs
Are stifled by no fetters—and an eye
That quails not to the mightiest! But the soul
Of him whose hand hath wrench'd the bonds of thrall
From the sad bosoms that beneath them pined,
Hath yet a higher joy!—and there is one,*
Whose name the grateful Mexican shall teach
His son to lisp, ere yet his infant lip
Hath learn'd to murmur, father.
But our land!—
The curse is on it still!—the slave-fiend stalks
Amidst our pleasant valleys and green hills;
A tyrant to the tyrants he has made;
Muttering fierce threats, and crowding on their hearts
Visions and shapes of terror, like the wild
And elfish faces that look forth at eve,
On wilder'd travellers, ‘midst the cheating shades,
And gibe and chatter at the fears they raise.
So men go crouching to the demon power,
Scarce daring e'en to syllable his name,
Lest they should waken up his smother'd rage;
And offering human victims at his shrine,
Instead of nobly standing forth, like men,
To drive him yelling from the glorious earth,
That he pollutes and blackens with his tread.
Whom call ye slaves? Are not the cravens such,
Who dare not act with justice?—Men who prate
In sweet smooth sentences, of christian love,
And with much sympathy, lament the fate
Of those from whose swoll'n limbs they will not strike
One single link, in all their weight of chains?
Strange! that the high capacities of mind,
Should be so blinded by the gleam of gold—
Till even the soul itself is valued less,
Than “so much trash as may be grasped thus.”

(*Guerrero)