Free Labor

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. 

Poems on miscellaneous subjectsMerrihew & Thompson, 1857. This poem is in the public domain.