The Oberlin Evangelist
June 8, 1859
SUGGESTED BY THE IMPRISONMENT OF THE 37.
“Bury Beranger! Ah well for you
Could you bury the SOUL of Beranger, too!”
Well could ALL despots mid tyranny’s sway
Crush the free spirit by fett’ring the clay—
The brave and the truthful all power defy,
The spirit of liberty never can die!
Well if scourge and the brand and the chain,
Tear-drops and heart-aches and prisons and pain;
Mockings at justice and scornings of right,
Perjury, falsehood and bribery and spite—
Well if all these were enough to affright
Freedom’s defenders or put them to flight.
Well if the vultures that hang round our way—
Conscienceless hirelings that seek for their prey—
Dragging the helpless from fireside and friends
Back to the misery that death only ends,
Felt, while the hand of Heaven’s justice is stayed,
Its vengeance is certain though sometimes delayed.
Well if our country (OUR COUNTRY! for shame!
Freemen may blush as they whisper the name,)
Had erased from her charter those letters of light,
“All men are born free and are equal in right;”
Had banished the Bible that teaches “to do
To others as you would have others to you;”
Teaches to give with a liberal hand
Foemen had this mandate been blotted from heaven
Ere human enactments its converse had given,
Bidding us banish from charity’s door
Our brother “in sickness and hungry and poor.”
Well that the arm of the Lord is still strong,
Guarding the right and rebuking the wrong;
Tyrants may often shed innocent blood,
Prisons entomb us, yet God is still good;
Mighty to rouse by injustice and strife,
The nations from sin, to newness of life.”
Oberlin, May 9, 1859. J. W. P.