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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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Such was thy beauty, such thy noble dower,

Couched, as a queen, beneath thy leafy bower,

In thy rich robes of flowers and foliage dressed,

By balmy breezes lovingly caress’d,

Thou fairest, richest, proudest of the States,

When to the slave, thou openedst first thy gates.

What hath been wrought upon thee by his hand?

Thy wasted forests, thine exhausted land,

Thy fields unfenced, thy cattle few and lean,

Thine ancient mansions fall’n, thy new ones mean,

Thy broad-leaved, poisonous plant that shades thy soil,

And makes the laborer languish at his toil,

The withering flowers that deck thy faded face,

Lazy unthrift, and labor in disgrace,

These show the world,—and they may read who run—

The work that thy blind slaves, and lords more blind, have done.

Ancient Dominion, have I done thee wrong?

Say’st thou my colors are laid on too strong?

Then will I gladly my pencil down,

And trust thou wilt not blast me with thy frown

If I exhibit of thy blighted land,

Thy portrait painted by a friendly hand.

The great Missourian’s picture thou shalt see;

Thou knew’st him well, and well did he know thee.

Missouri’s Senator, well known to Fame,

Whom some “the Old Roman,” some “Old Bullion” name,

Thus paints thy land along Potomac’s side,

Near where Virginia’s and the Nation’s pride,

Thrice honored lived, and long lamented, died.

“Throughout this region, long by slavery cursed,

Behold man’s progress upon earth reversed.

Backwards and downwards everything goes on:

Houses delapidated, tenants gone.

Where once were crowds there now is ample room;

Fields, fertile once, are now grown up with broom.

No crops, no fences now the plains adorn;

Grass and pine saplings take the place of corn.

As men grow scarce, wild beasts more frequent prowl,

The fox grows bolder, oftener hoots the owl,

And hungry wolves are heard more savagely to howl.

The tenant’s lot, who here puts in his seed,

Is hopeless, is deplorable indeed;

In vain does he solicit, day by day,

Gravel and grit and still more heartless clay.

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