Bury Me in a Free Land
"Bury Me in a Free Land
" is a poem
by Frances Harper
, an African American abolitionist
- Make me a grave where'er you will,
- In a lowly plain, or a lofty hill;
- Make it among earth's humblest graves,
- But not in a land where men are slaves.
- I could not rest if around my grave
- I heard the steps of a trembling slave;
- His shadow above my silent tomb
- Would make it a place of fearful gloom.
- I could not rest if I heard the tread
- Of a coffle gang to the shambles led,
- And the mother's shriek of wild despair
- Rise like a curse on the trembling air.
- I could not sleep if I saw the lash
- Drinking her blood at each fearful gash,
- And I saw her babes torn from her breast,
- Like trembling doves from their parent nest.
- I'd shudder and start if I heard the bay
- Of bloodhounds seizing their human prey,
- And I heard the captive plead in vain
- As they bound afresh his galling chain.
- If I saw young girls from their mother's arms
- Bartered and sold for their youthful charms,
- My eye would flash with a mournful flame,
- My death-paled cheek grow red with shame.
- I would sleep, dear friends, where bloated might
- Can rob no man of his dearest right;
- My rest shall be calm in any grave
- Where none can call his brother a slave.
- I ask no monument, proud and high,
- To arrest the gaze of the passers-by;
- All that my yearning spirit craves,
- Is bury me not in a land of slaves.