It was my sad and weary lot
   To toil in slavery;
But one thing cheered my lowly cot—
   My husband was with me.

One evening, as our children played
   Around our cabin door,
I noticed on his brow a shade
   I’d never seen before;

And in his eyes a gloomy night
   Of anguish and despair;—
I gazed upon their troubled light,
   To read the meaning there.

He strained me to his heaving heart—
   My own beat wild with fear;
I knew not, but I sadly felt
   There must be evil near.

He vainly strove to cast aside
   The tears that fell like rain:—
Too frail, indeed, is manly pride,
   To strive with grief and pain. 

Again he clasped me to his breast,
   And said that we must part:
I tried to speak—but, oh! it seemed
   An arrow reached my heart.

“Bear not,” I cried, “unto your grave,
   The yoke you’ve borne from birth;
No longer live a helpless slave,
   The meanest thing on earth!”

This poem is in the public domain.