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1865 Washington, D.C. Celebration by the Colored People's Educational Monument Association in Memory of Abraham Lincoln


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“Who fats and kills the ox, his bones may gnaw;

“Who sows and reaps the wheat, may eat the straw;

“The idlest hands shall stuff the busiest jaws;

“These are my fixed, my fundamental laws.”

What is the good wherewith this code is fraught?

What are the blessings slavery hath brought?

Ay, where, in the wide field that she has trod,

And o’er it plied her shackles and her rod,

Hath not this fiend left traces of her hand,

Diffused her blight, and pressed her burning brand?

Where hath she brought a single blessing? Where

A sweeter flower, or a more balmy air?

More richly robed the earth in golden corn,

Sung holier hymns to heaven at even or morn,

Or with more fruits filled Amalthea’s horn?

Ancient Dominion, where the bondman’s tread,

First on our shores was felt, lift up thy head !

Thy loving arms were first around him thrown,

In thine embrace he loosed thy virgin zone.

Closest and longest to thy bosom prest,

Thou’st held the laboring bondman to thy breast,

Lift up thy head—once proud,—and show thy race

What are the fruits of that long, close embrace !

What did the bondman find thee when ye met?

What hath he left—he hath not left thee yet.

He found the fairest of the sister train:

Thy broad deep rivers rolling to the main;

From the wood-crowned Blue Ridges, that divide

Ohio’s waters from the ocean tide;

Thy valleys, fertile as the field, that smile,

In green and gold, along the ancient Nile.

Thy hill sides, dark with naval oaks and pines,

And teeming with their coal, and iron mines;

Thy waterfalls, echoing among those hills,

And clamorous for employment on thy mills,

That from the thundering ear and groaning wain,

Would take thy sacks, bursting with golden grain,

And, with their arms unwearied, fill with bread

Each lordly mansion and each humble shed,

That its blue wreath of smoke would ever send

Up to the genial skies, that o’er thee bend;

While, in thine inland sea, their sails unfurled,

Might ride secure the navies of the world.

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