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To Those I LoveEdit

Oh, turn ye not displeased away, though I should sometimes seem
Too much to press upon your ear, an oft-repeated theme;
The story of the negro's wrongs is heavy at my heart,
And can I choose but wish from you a sympathizing part?

I turn to you to share my joy,—to soothe me in my grief—
In wayward sadness from your smiles, I seek a sweet relief:
And shall I keep this burning wish to see the slave set free,
Lock'd darkly in my secret heart, unshared and silently?

I cannot know that all the chords, which give their magic tone
Like Memnon's harp, in music out, ‘neath sunshine smiles alone,
Are torn by savage hands away from woman's bleeding breast,
And with their sweetness on my soul, my feelings keep repress'd!

If I had been a friendless thing—if I had never known,
How swell the fountains of the heart beneath affection's tone,
I might have, careless, seen the leaf torn rudely from its stem,
But clinging as I do to you, can I but feel for them?

I could not brook to list the sad sweet music of a bird,
Though it were sweeter melody than ever ear hath heard,
If cruel hands had quench'd its light, that in the plaintive song,
It might the breathing memory of other days prolong.

And can I give my lip to taste the life-bought luxuries, wrung
From those on whom a darker night of anguish has been flung—
Or silently and selfishly enjoy my better lot,
While those whom God hath bade me love, are wretched and forgot?

Oh no!—so blame me not, sweet friends, though I should sometimes seem
Too much to press upon your ear an oft-repeated theme;
The story of the negro's wrongs hath won me from my rest,—
And I must strive to wake for him an interest in your breast!