Take sackcloth of the darkest dye, And shroud the pulpits round! Servants of Him that cannot lie, Sit mourning on the ground. Let holy horror blanch each cheek, Pale every brow with fears; And rocks and stones, if ye could speak, Ye well might melt to tears! Let sorrow breathe in every tone, In every strain ye raise; Insult not God's majestic throne With th' mockery of praise. A "reverend" man, whose light should be The guide of age and youth, Brings to the shrine of Slavery The sacrifice of truth! For the direst wrong by man imposed, Since Sodom's fearful cry, The word of life has been unclos'd, To give your God the lie. Oh! when ye pray for heathen lands, And plead for their dark shores, Remember Slavery's cruel hands Make heathens at your doors!
I wear an easy garment,
O’er it no toiling slave
Wept tears of hopeless anguish,
In his passage to the grave.
And from its ample folds
Shall rise no cry to God,
Upon its warp and woof shall be
No stain of tears and blood.
Oh, lightly shall it press my form,
Unladened with a sigh,
I shall not ‘mid its rustling hear,
Some sad despairing cry.
This fabric is too light to bear
The weight of bondsmen’s tears,
I shall not in its texture trace
The agony of years.
Too light to bear a smother’d sigh,
From some lorn woman’s heart,
Whose only wreath of household love
Is rudely torn apart.
Then lightly shall it press my form,
Unburden’d by a sigh;
And from its seams and folds shall rise,
No voice to pierce the sky,
And witness at the throne of God,
In language deep and strong,
That I have nerv’d Oppression’s hand,
For deeds of guilt and wrong.