Unchain the Laborer

Original Text: 
The Anti -- Slavery Poems of John Pierpont. Boston: Oliver Johnson, 1843; Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Literature House, 1970: 55-56.
1Strike from that laborer's limbs his chain!
2  In the fierce sun the iron burns!
3By night, it fills his dreams with pain;
4  By day, it galls him as he turns.
5Yes; and your dreams it visits, too,
6  When Fear stands o'er your restless bed,
7And shakes it in your ears, till you
8  Tremble, as at an earthquake's tread.
9Then break his chain, and let him go,
10  And, with the spirit of a man,
11Earn his own bread; and you shall know
12  Peace, -- -- that you know not now, nor can
13The chain, that binds to you your slave,
14  Binds you to him, with links so strong,
15That you must wear them to your grave,
16  If all your days you do him wrong.
17Then, from his body and your soul,
18  Throw off the load, while yet you may;
19Thus strive, in faith, for heaven's high goal,
20  And wait, in hope, the judgement day.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2004
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