Though distant be the hour, yet come it must—
Oh hasten it, in mercy, righteous Heaven!
When Afric’s sons, uprising from the dust,
Shall stand erect—their galling fetters riven;
When from her throne Oppression shall be driven,
An exiled monster, powerless through all time,
When freedom—glorious freedom, shall be given
To every race, complexion, cast and clime,
And nature’s sable hue shall cease to be a crime! (¶ 1)
Wo, if it come with storm, and blood, and fire,
When midnight darkness veils the earth and sky!
Wo to the innocent babe—the guilty sire—
Mother and daugher—friends of kindred tie!
Stranger and citizen alike shall die!
Red-handed Slaughter his revenge shall feed,
And Havoc yell his ominous death-cry,
And wild Despair in vain for mercy plead—
While hell itself shall shrink, and sicken at the deed! (¶ 2)
Thou who avengest blood! long-suffering Lord!
My guilty country from destruction save!
Let Justice sheathe his sharp and terrible sword,
And Mercy rescue e’en as from the grave!
O, for the sake of those who firmly brave
The lust of power—the tyranny of law—
To bring redemption to the perishing slave—
Fearless though few—Thy presence ne’er withdraw,
But quench the kindling flames of hot, rebellious war! (¶ 3)
And ye—sad victims of base avarice!
Hunted like beasts—and trodden like the earth;
Bought and sold daily, at a paltry price—
The scorn of tyrants, and of fools the mirth—
Your souls debased from their immortal birth!
Bear meekly—as ye’ve borne—your cruel woes;
Ease follows pain—light darkness—plenty, dearth:
So time shall give you freedom and repose,
And high exalt your heads above your bitter foes! (¶ 4)
Not by the sword shall your deliverance be;
Not by the shedding of your masters’ blood;
Not by rebellion, or foul treachery.
Upspringing suddenly, like swelling flood:
Revenge and rapine ne’er did bring forth good.
God’s time is best!—nor will it long delay:
Even now your barren cause begins to bud,
And glorious shall the fruit be!—Watch and pray,
For lo! the kindling dawn, that ushers in the day! (¶ 5)