BETA

The Land of Freedom.

Beneath Afric’s hot sun, Mohab toil’d thro’ the day,1
Light-hearted and glad, though a slave ;2
For Mohab could eat—to his God he could pray ;3
And at night, on his pallet, he grateful would say,4
He liv’d by the labour he gave.5
But the white man had told him that there was a shore6
Where the poor and the stranger were free7
Where the stern hand of justice indignantly tore8
Every fetter which man for his fellow-man bore :9
Mohab wished that that land he might see.10
Soon a ship bound for Britain his native home passed,11
In whose captain a patron he found ;12
From his master he fled—the trim vessel sail’d fast,13
And Mohab beheld England’s white cliffs at last,14
And he sprung a free man—on free ground.15
What large vessels,” he ask’d of his patron, “are those,”16
They fill me with feelings of wonder ? ”17
They are war-ships, by which we for ever oppose18
All attempts of invaders; and liberty’s foes19
Full well know the force of their thunder.”20
And what’s that dark vessel, unlike all the rest ? ”21
He inquired, and was told ’ twas “The Tender,”22
And that, when the war vessels for men were distress’d,23
On board that dark hulk many persons were press’d,24
Whom their country compell’d to defend her.25
But come to the barracks,” the Englishman cried,26
For our army you yet have to see :27
A brave army is ever a nation’s best pride,28
And our soldier’s in battle have often been tried,29
And are worthy the land of the free ! ”30
And they saw a deserter dragg’d forth from his cell,31
And by force to the triangles bound,32
And they heard the loud shriek, and the heart-thrilling
yell,
33
’Till the mangled and shivering sufferer fell34
Senseless, covered with blood, on the ground.35
Then the African said, “ That’s like slavery’s thong,”36
And the Briton replied, “ I confess37
There are some little errors our blessings among ;38
But we have a relief from oppression and wrong39
In the voice of our free British Press.”40
I’ll examine your journals,” the African thought,41
And he found, when enabled to read ’ em,42
That the rich man by bribes venal journalists bought,43
And by libel indictments vile ministers sought44
To crush the true struggles for freedom.45
And he saw a huge poor-house, “ By Liberals plann’d,46
And a man with sunk eyes and parch’d tongue,47
On whom famine had laid her cold withering hand ;48
A poor starving wretch in a plentiful land,49
But his kindred around him still clung !50
They from him his wife and his little ones tore,51
And to separate dungeons conveyed :52
Mohab heard him in accents most piteous implore53
For a morsel of bread ; he was spurn’d from the door,54
With hunger’s sharp pangs unallay’d.55
Then farewell ! ” Mohab cried, “ to the land praised
so high
56
As the home of wealth, freedom, and bravery :57
Tho’ the truth of your boasting I dare not deny,58
Yet I thank the great God of my fathers that I59
Am a child of the regions of slavery ! ”60