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Posts Tagged ‘master’

(For the inauguration of the statue of
Governor Andrew Bingham, October 7, 1875)
 

Behold the shape our eyes have known!
It lives once more in changeless stone;
So looked in mortal face and form
Our guide through peril’s deadly storm. 

But hushed the beating heart we knew,
That heart so tender, brave, and true,
Even as the rooted mountain rock,
Pure as the quarry’s whitest block! 

Not his beneath the blood-red star
To win the soldier’s envied scar;
Unarmed he battled for the right,
In Duty’s never-ending fight. 

Unconquered will, unslumbering eye,
Faith such as bids the martyr die,
The prophet’s glance, the master’s hand
To mould the work his foresight planned, 

These were his gifts; what Heaven had lent;
For justice, mercy, truth, he spent,
First to avenge the traitorous blow,
And first to lift the vanquished foe. 

Lo, thus he stood; in danger’s strait
The pilot of the Pilgrim State!
Too large his fame for her alone, –
A nation claims him as her own!

 

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My ole Mistiss promise me,
W’en she die, she’d set me free.
She lived so long dat ‘er head got bal’.
An’ she give out’n de notion a dyin’ at all. 

My ole Mistiss say to me:
“Sambo I’se gwine ter set you free.”
But w’en dat head git slick an’ bal’,
De Lawd couldn’ a’ killed ‘er wid a big green maul. 

My ole Mistiss never die,
Wid ‘er nose all hooked an’ skin all dry.
But my ole Miss, she’s somehow gone,
An’ she lef’ “Uncle Sambo” a-hillin’ up co’n. 

Ole Mosser lakwise promise me,
W’en he died, he’d set me free.
But ole Mosser go an’ make his Will
Fer to leave me a-plowin ole Beck still. 

Yes, my ole Mosser promise me;
But “his papers” didn’ leave me free.
A dose of pizen he’ped ‘im along.
May de Devil preach ‘is funer’l song.

 

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I never was a master or a slave,
Though maybe one, or both, is in my blood.
By kinsmen past is not how I behave
If in me now by drop or even flood. 

What’s gone before is but a sketch that’s pale,
While I am busy now with paint in hand
With all the colors of my present tale
To make my life a masterpiece that’s grand. 

If all my colors clash, there’s none to blame –
Not ghosts or genes or skin or governments.
I am the one responsible for fame
Or failure, not the long ago, or once. 

That some take umbrage at a distant flag
Shows chains of slav’ry that their minds still drag.

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© Dennis Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2015.

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