Child, Lydia Maria. "Lines to Those Men and Women, Who Were Avowed Abolitionists in 1831, '32, '33, '34, and '35." The Online Archive of Nineteenth-Century U.S. Women's Writings. Ed. Glynis Carr. Online. Internet. Posted: Fall 1997.


IN 1831, '32, '33, '34, AND '35.


The reader will recollect how the fiery cross of Clan-Alpine was hurried through the land by messengers, who paused neither for joy nor sorrow, life nor death, till the signal had warned every clansman of approaching battle.

Ye glorious band! Ye chosen few!
     On whom God's Spirit came,--
Endowed with hearts so bold and true,
     And tongues of living flame;--

How memory kindles to review
     The strife of recent years!
As the torch of Truth went struggling through,
     Contending doubts and fears.

That torch, like Alpine's fiery cross,
     Flew fast from hand to hand,--
Through deadly peril, pain, and loss,
     It lightened round the land.

Men saw the kindling watch-fires burn
     From rivers to the sea,
And paused mid worldly gain to learn
     Whence all this light could be.

They heard the stunning roar and clash
     Of elements contending,
They saw the burning glare and flash
     Sin's secret caverns rending.

Then rose the loud discordant yell
     Of selfishness and power.
The light too strong upon them fell,
     In God's own searching hour.

In civil garb, or priestly guise,
     The aged and the youth,
The prudent, and the worldly wise
     Combined against the Truth

Ye smiled to see the war they waged,
     And scorned their rash design;
Ye knew how vainly Hell had raged
     Against a truth divine.

Right valiantly ye kept your path,
     And bore the beacon high,
While roaring in tumultuous wrath,
     The stormy waves rushed by.

Boldly ye sent the signal forth!
     Nor flashed the fire in vain;
For the South answering to the North,*
     Reflected it again.

Now the whole land is filled with light,
     And converts come like dew,--
God grant the torch may burn as bright,
     As when our names were few!

In sooth, it somewhat grieves my heart,
     That the world is coming in,
With its polluting, prudent, art
     Of compromise with sin.

For oh, it was a solemn joy,
     That tide of sin to turn!
A holy and a blest employ,
     To make those watch-fires burn!

God bless you with his love divine,
     Dear brethren, tried and true!
And grant your light may brightly shine,
     As when our names were few.

Written at Boston,
    November, 1837.

*James G. Birney, James A. Thome, Dr. Nelson, Mr. Taylor, Angelina and Sarah Grimké, all Anti-Slavery lecturers and agents, from the slave-holding states.

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