The Slave Mingo's Poem

Dublin Core


The Slave Mingo's Poem


[The following remarkable poem was sent to me from the South by a friend, who informs me that the author of it was a slave named Mingo, a man of wonderful talents and on that [?] oppressed by his master. While in the slave prison, he penciled this poetic gem on one of the beams, which was afterward found and copied. My friend adds that Mingo did escape, at night, but was recaptured and destroyed by the bloodhounds. My friend promises to send other poems of his, which, he says, are in possession of Mingo's aged wife. C.W.]

Good God! and must I leave them now—
My wife, my children, in their woe?
'Tis mockery to say I'm sold—
But I forget these chains so cold,
Which goad my bleeding limbs, though high
My reason mounts above the sky.
Dear wife, they cannot sell the rose
Of love, that in my bosom glows.
Remember, as your tears may start,
They cannot sell th' immortal part;
Thou sun, which lightest bond and free,
Tell me, I pray, is liberty
The lot of those who noblest feel,
And oftest to Jehovah kneel?
Then I may say, but not with pride,
I feel the rushings of the tide
Of reason and of eloquence,
Which strive and yearn for eminence.
I feel high manhood on me now,
A spirit-glory on my brow;
I feel a thrill of music roll,
Like angel harpings, through my soul,
"While poesy, with rustling wings,
Upon my spirit rests and sings.
He sweeps my heart's deep throbbing lyre,
Who touched Isaiah's lips with fire.

To Plymouth Rock, ye breezes, bear
These words from me, as I would dare,
If I were free: Is not our God
Our common Father?—from the sod
He formed us all; then brothers—yes;
We're brothers all, though some oppress.
And grind their equals in the dust.
O Heaven! tell me, is this just?
'Tis fiendish. No! I will not go,
And leave my children here in woe!
God help me! Out, bright dagger! gleam.
And find the coward's heart, and stream
With fiendish blood! This night, this night,
Or I am free, or it shall smite
The master and his slave, and we
Will seek the heavenly liberty!
There will my master's bloody lash
No longer lacerate

NOTE.—The last line was from some cause incomplete; perhaps his feelings overcame him at the conception. I concluded to give it as it was found. 

Boston Journal




1:2, p. 3





Mingo, “The Slave Mingo's Poem,” Periodical Poets, accessed July 25, 2024,


Allowed tags: <p>, <a>, <em>, <strong>, <ul>, <ol>, <li>