Saturday, July 10, 2010

"The Beginning of Slavery's End": A poem

These verses were apparently published in London's Punch Magazine shortly after Abraham Lincoln's election as President of the United States. I don't know if any Northerner who favored the abolition of slavery could have summed up their thoughts and beliefs in verse much better than this.

I found it republished on page 133 of Abraham Lincoln: The Year of His Election, A Cartoon History by Albert Shaw (The Review of Reviews Corporation, 1929).  Unfortunately, as I did some brief research on it, I found a link to Google books that showed that the version I found was missing a few verses, only printing what this link showed to be the first, second, fifth and final verses. I have transcribed the entire poem from this link.

Thus far shall Slavery go, no farther;
That tide must ebb from this time forth.
So many righteous Yankees are there, 
Who Good and Truth hold something worth, 
That they outnumber the immoral
Throughout the States, on that old quarrel
That stands between the South and North.

The great Republic is not rotten
So much as half; the rest is sound.
Most of her sons have not forgotten
Her own foundation; holy ground!
The better party is the stronger,
And by the worse will now no longer
Bear to be bullied, ruled and bound.

The nobler people of the nation
The baser sort no more will stand,
Nor cringe to truculent dictation
Enforced with strength of murderous hand,
By ruffians, for example, brawling
To back slave-soil against free land.

Their higher-minded fellow creatures
Of all these brutes are tired, and sick
Of slavery's blaspheming preachers,
That snuffle texts with nasal trick
To justify the abomination
That's cherished by their congregation
Whose feet these canting parsons lick. 

Enough of frantic stump-haranguing,
Invectives of a rabid Press,
Tarring and feathering, flogging, hanging,
To stop free mouths; the mad excess
Of human-fleshmongers tyrannic
Who rant and revel in Satanic
Enthusiasm of wickedness!

This is America's decision.
Awakening, she begins to see
How justly she incurs derision
Of tyrants, while she shames us free;
Republican, yet more slaves owning
Than any under Empire groaning,
Or ground beneath the Papacy

Come, South, accept the situation; 
The change will grow by safe degrees.
If any talk of separation,
Hang all such traitors if you please.
Break up the Union? Brothers, never!
No; the United States for ever, 
Pure Freedom's home beyond the seas!

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