The Poetical Works of Elizabeth Margaret Chandler/The Slave-Mother's Farewell

The Slave-Mother's FarewellEdit

May God have mercy on thee, son, for man's stern heart hath none!
My gentle boy, my beautiful, my loved and only one!
I would the bitter tears that steep thy young and grief-doom'd head,
Were springing from a broken heart, that mourn'd thee with the dead.

And yet how often have I watch'd above thine infant sleep,
With love whose gushing tenderness strove vainly not to weep,
When starting through my timid heart, the thought that thou couldst die,
Shot, even amidst a mother's bliss, a pang of agony.

My boy! my boy! Oh cling not thus around me in thy grief,
Thy mother's arm, thy mother's love, can yield thee no relief;
The tiger's bloody jaw hath not a gripe more fierce and fell
Than that which tears thee from my arms—thou who wert loved so well!

How may I live bereft of thee? Thy smile was all that flung
A ray of gladness ‘midst the gloom, forever round me hung:
How may a mother's heart endure to think upon thy fate,
Thou doom'd to misery and chains!—so young and desolate!

Farewell! farewell!—They tear thee hence!—and yet my heart beats on;
How can it bear the weight of life, when thou art from me gone?
Mine own! mine own! Yet cruel hands have barter'd thee for gold,
And torn thee, with a ruthless grasp, forever from my hold!