Howard At Atlanta





RIGHT in the track where Sherman

Ploughed his red furrow,

Out of the narrow cabin,

Up from the cellar's burrow,

Gathered the little black people,

With freedom newly dowered,

Where, beside their Northern teacher,

Stood the soldier, Howard.



He listened and heard the children

Of the poor and long-enslaved

Reading the words of Jesus,

Singing the songs of David.

Behold!--the dumb lips speaking,

The blind eyes seeing!

Bones of the Prophet's vision

Warmed into being!



Transformed he saw them passing

Their new life's portal

Almost it seemed the mortal

Put on the immortal.

No more with the beasts of burden,

No more with stone and clod,

But crowned with glory and honor

In the image of God!



There was the human chattel

Its manhood taking;

There, in each dark, bronze statue,

A soul was waking!

The man of many battles,

With tears his eyelids pressing,

Stretched over those dusky foreheads

His one-armed blessing.



And he said: "Who hears can never

Fear for or doubt you;

What shall I tell the children

Up North about you?"

Then ran round a whisper, a murmur,

Some answer devising:

And a little boy stood up: "General,

Tell 'em we're rising!"



O black boy of Atlanta!

But half was spoken

The slave's chain and the master's

Alike are broken.

The one curse of the races

Held both in tether

They are rising,--all are rising,

The black and white together!



O brave men and fair women!

Ill comes of hate and scorning

Shall the dark faces only

Be turned to mourning?--

Make Time your sole avenger,

All-healing, all-redressing;

Meet Fate half-way, and make it

A joy and blessing!

1869.





Hog Meat Hymn For The Celebration Of Emancipation At Newburyport facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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