Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Poems of Henry W. Longfellow. New York: A.L. Burt Co., 1901,
In the dark fens of the Dismal Swamp
The hunted negro lay;
He saw the fire of the midnight
And heard at times a horse's trams
and a bloodhound's distant bay.
Where will-o'-the wisps and glowworms
In Bulrush and in brake;
Where waving mosses shroud the
and the cedar grows, and the poisenous
Is spotted like the snake;
Where hardly a human foot could
Or a human heart would dare,
On the quaking turf of the green
He crouched in the rank and tangled
Like a wild beast in his lair.
A poor old slave, infirm and lame;
Great scars deformed his face;
On his forehead he bore the brand
And the rags, that hid his mangled
Were the livery of disgrace.
All things above were bright and fair,
All things were glad and free;
Lithe squirrels darted here and there,
And wild birds filled the echoing
With songs of Liberty.
On him alone was the doom of pain,
From the morning of his birth,
On him alone the Curse of Cain
Fell, like a flail on the garnered
and struck him to the earth.