Abolition of Slavery in District of Columbia

Thank God! from our old ensign
      Is erased one mark of shame,
Which leaves one less to rapine,
      One less to blight our fame.
For two and sixty summers
      Has our broad escutcheon waved,
Amid the ceaseless murmurs
      And wails of the enslaved;
But in the blest hereafter
      Shall our oft afflicted ears,
Be solaced with bright laughter,
      With gladsome praise and cheers.
For freedom’s altar’s basis
      More permanent shall be,
When rid the gaunt embraces
      Of fell barbarity.

*     *        *        *         *

If Congress hath the power
      To expel from ten miles square
The Goliath of the hour,
      And charge the tainted air
With the pure breath of freedom,
      As to baffle all return,
Should they not e’en from Sodom,
      The vaunted monster, spurn?
Roaring like distant waters,
      Which no power can repress,
Up from ten thousand quarters
      Comes the responsive yes!
Yes! yes; our nation’s banner
      We should purge from all its stains,
Nor yield to might nor manner,
      Till Right triumphant reigns.

The Poetical Works of James Madison Bell (Press of Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., 1901) by James Madison Bell. Copyright © 1901 by James Madison Bell. This poem is in the public domain.