An essay on slavery: proving from Scripture its inconsistency with humanity and religion; in answer to a late publication, entitled, "The African trade for Negro slaves shewn to be consistent with principles of humanity, and with the laws of revealed religion." By Granville Sharp, Esq. With an introductory preface, containing the sentiments of the monthly reviewers on that publication; and the opinion of several eminent writers on the subject. To which is added, an elegy on the miserable state of an African slave, by the celebrated an ingenious William Shenstone, Esq.
Sharp, Granville, 1735-1813., Shenstone, William, 1714-1763., Dillwyn, William, 1743-1824., Allinson, Samuel, d. 1791.
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AN ELEGY On the miserable STATE of an AFRICAN SLAVE, by the celebrated and ingenious WILLIAM SHENSTONE, Esq.
—SEE the poor native quit the Lybian shores,
Ah! not in love's delightful fetters bound!
No radiant smile his dying peace restores,
Nor love, nor fame, nor friendship heals his wound.
Let vacant bards display their boasted woes,
Shall I the mockery of grief display?
No, let the muse his piercing pangs disclose,
Who bleeds and weeps his sum of life away!
On the wild beach in mournful guise he stood,
Ere the shrill boatswain gave the hated sign;
He dropt a tear unseen into the flood;
He stole one secret moment, to repine.
Yet the muse listen'd to the plaints he made;
Such moving plaints as nature could inspire;
To me the muse his tender plea convey'd,
But smooth'd, and suited to the sounding lyre.
"Why am I ravish'd from my native strand?
What savage race protects this impious gain?
Shall foreign plagues infest this teeming land,
And more than sea-born monsters plough the main?
Here the dire locusts horrid swarms prevail;
Here the blue asps with livid poison swell;
Here the dry dipsa wriths his sinuous mail;
Can we not here, secure from envy, dwell?
When the grim lion urg'd his cruel chace,
When the stern panther sought his midnight prey,
What fate reserv'd me for this * christian race?
O race more polish'd, more severe than they!
Ye prouling wolves pursue my latest cries!
Thou hungry tyger, leave thy reeking den!
Ye sandy wastes in rapid eddies rise!
O tear me from the whips and scorns of men!
Yet in their face superior beauty glows;
Are smiles the mien of rapine and of wrong?
Yet from their lip the voice of mercy flows,
And ev'n religion dwells upon their tongue.
Of blissful haunts they tell, and brighter climes,
Where gentle minds convey'd by death repair,
But stain'd with blood, and crimson'd o'er with crimes
Say, shall they merit what they paint so fair?
No, careless, hopeless of those fertile plains,
Rich by our toils, and by our sorrows gay,
They ply our labours, and enhance our pains,
And feign these distant regions to repay.
For them our tusky elephant expires;
For them we drain the mine's embowel'd gold;
Where rove the brutal nations wild desires?—
Our limbs are purchas'd, and our life is sold!
Yet shores there are, blest shores for us remain,
And favour'd isles with golden fruitage crown'd,
Where tufted flow'rets paint the verdant plain,
Where ev'ry breeze shall med'cine ev'ry wound.
There the stern tyrant that embitters life
Shall, vainly suppliant, spread his asking hand;
There shall we view the billow's raging strife,
Aid the kind breast, and waft his boat to land."