Lines: Inspired by a Cold Interview with an Abolitionist

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Lines: Inspired by a Cold Interview with an Abolitionist


Oh! dreadful, crushing thought, that grinds itself
Into the soul of him, who knows and feels,
He bears a name, whose mention will debar
Him from all right. It indicates no crime--
Fixes upon the soul no stain of sin,
And from the exalted character of man,
Takes not an attribute; yet, he who wears
This name upon his forehead, is despised;
And is cast out, and scorned, and trampled on,
As though he were a reptile in the dust.

What though as heart as generous, and as warm
As fills an angel's bosom, may be his!
What though Apollo's faultless God-like form
Encase a soul as perfect as its mould!
What though his mind be limitless, and stored
With all the wealth of science, and of lore!
Burning upon his soul, are found the words--
I AM A NEGRO! and his heart wells up
Its deep emotions, till its fertile fields
Are deluged with the gall of bitterness,
That overfloweth from its channels deep.

Oh! who can paint the anguish that must dwell,
In a proud soul, divine in its creation,
In its broad comprehension, and aspirings;
Chained down unto a mote!

How it must writhe

With agony, so far exceding death's,

That 'tis beyond compare!

It's groans, unutterably deep and full
Of intense misery, would rend a rock,
Had it but ears to hear.

It aught could wring

Tears, from the happy eyes of angels kind, Methinks this sight would.

How my heart has thrilled

To think that God is just; that He who bade
Man "love thy brother as thou dost thyself,"
Will Judge with impartiality all kind,
And unto merit, give its own reward,
Without regard to whether its possessor,
Be black or white, a negro or Circassian.

He gave predominence to none, but said--
Who was himself predominant o'er all--
According to your works, shall ye be judged.
Now look unto your works, ye arbitrators,--
Usurpers of God-given sacred rights!
Who in the name of honesty have robbed,
And in the name of freedom, have enslaved;
In God's name have wrought your iniquity,
And sloughed the soul ye feign'd to be upraising.
Look to your works! a day of reckoning comes,
When mysteries and wrongs shall be unveiled.
Aye look! and quick repair thy breaches,
Quick repair or amend, what then thou would'st not have undone.

A dark array will else comfort you there,
Of not brows only; there will be accounts
Of outrages upon God's image done;
Of wrongs upon the Son's beloved "brother,"
Presumptuous creature! that doth rear thyself
'Bove thy Creator; that doth lift thyself
Above thy fellow; that hath dared to bind
In dust thy brother; nor stopped even there;
But placed thy rigerous foot upon his neck,
Crushed out his inner life, obscured the light
Of intellect, that burned within his brain.

Look to thy works! search well their records,
And by amendment blot out past misdeeds,
That else will glare terrific and distinct,
To light thy guilty soul to its deserts.
Look to thy works! while yet it is to-day!
There comes a night, whose darkness will forbid
What thou would'st fain do, when 'tis all too late.
Night unto the evil--day unto the good--
The time of retribution and reward.


Miss A.E. Chancellor


2:2, pp. 59-61




Miss A.E. Chancellor, “Lines: Inspired by a Cold Interview with an Abolitionist,” Periodical Poets, accessed May 18, 2024,


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