All human archives in this truth accord,
That feeble man is Ruin’s mighty lord;
States rise and fall as ages roll away,
But vice survives, the passions ne’er decay;
New tyrants start, where conquest once has been,
The drama constant, tho’ transposed the scene.
Thus in these isles, where gazing with delight,
Columbus first repos’d his aching sight;
(Ere yet, his swan-white sails that beauteous land
Approached, the younger world of nature’s hand;)
On the same sod, where (Rapine’s helpless prey,)
The plumed Indian, pin’d his life away,
Enslav’d, degraded, doom’d to vile employ,
Deploring still the rifled hive of joy,
There the poor Negro, shackled with the chain,
Rears, by his sweltering toil, the nectar’d cane;
And, wretched exile from his brighter skies,
Breathes o’er the native’s grave complaining sighs,
Unconscious on what dust he treads, nor knows
Whose place he takes, whose heritage of woes.
But not like him, the captive Indian pin’d,
Some gentler feelings sooth’d his simple mind;
Still might the patriarch to his children trace
His ancient home – his desolated place, –
And to familiar brethren still impart
In native speech, the sorrows of his heart –
But Afric’s outcast meets no kindred hand,
He mourns unsolac’d in a foreign land;
To him the heavens a fearful aspect wear,
Strange are the accents murmur’d in his ear.
He steals no balm from pity’s lenient breath;
Hope sheds no gleam, but through the vale of death:
An alien, far from nature’s bosom cast,
He broods on wrongs, the present and the past;
And asks what vengeance shall the wretches wait,
Who bade him mourn within the stranger’s gate.
Devoted victim of the crimes accurst,
By hatred cherish’d, and by av’rice nurs'd;
Crimes that with Europe’s sordid sons began,
The rude barbarian’s gift from polished man.
- Extract from The Abolition of the Slave Trade quoted in a letter: "To The Editor Of The Times." Times [London, England] 30 Apr. 1810: 2. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 16 Nov. 2012.