Inscription under the Picture of an Aged Negro-woman
The Poetical Works of James Montgomery. Collected by Himself (London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1850): 322. British Library 11611.f.12
1Art thou a woman? -- so am I; and all
2That woman can be, I have been, or am;
3A daughter, sister, consort, mother, widow.
4Whiche'er of these thou art, O be the friend
5Of one who is what thou canst never be!
6Look on thyself, thy kindred, home, and country,
7Then fall upon thy knees, and cry "Thank GOD,
8An English woman cannot be a SLAVE!"
9Art thou a man? -- Oh! I have known, have loved,
10And lost, all that to woman man can be;
11A father, brother, husband, son, who shared
12My bliss in freedom, and my woe in bondage.
13-- A childless widow now, a friendless slave,
14What shall I ask of thee, since I have nought
15To lose but life's sad burden; nought to gain
16But heaven's repose? -- these are beyond thy power;
17Me thou canst neither wrong nor help; -- what then?
18Go to the bosom of thy family,
19Gather thy little children round thy knees,
20Gaze on their innocence; their clear, full eyes,
21All fix'd on thine; and in their mother, mark
22The loveliest look that woman's face can wear,
23Her look of love, beholding them and thee:
24Then, at the altar of your household joys,
25Vow one by one, vow altogether, vow
26With heart and voice, eternal enmity
27Against oppression by your brethern's hands:
28Till man nor woman under Britain's laws,
29Nor son nor daughter born within her empire,
30Shall buy, or sell, or hold, or be, a slave.
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