Janet Hamilton

1795-1873 / Scotland

Comparative Slavery

'Look on this picture, and on that.'
Tell me not of negro slavery,
Of its shackles, stripes, and woes-
Shackles stronger, stripes more cruel,
Deeper woe the drunkard knows.
Ah! what fetters adamantine
Bind and hold him in their thrall!
Oft the scorpion scourge of horror
On his shrinking soul will fall.
Tell me not of buying, selling,
Like the beasts in field or fold,
Human beings-lo! the drunkard-
Body, soul, and heart hath sold.
Sold! is it to plant the cotton,
Hoe the soil, and pick the pod?
No; to drink the demon tyrant,
Foe to man, accursed of God.
Tell me not the negro mother
Rears her children for the mart,
To be torn, when master wills it,
From her clinging arms and heart.
We have thousand British mothers
Who, in want, neglect, and cold,
See their infant victims pining
To the fiend intemperance sold.
Do we loathe the beastly orgies
Of the negro-breeding pens?
Look within our thousand brothels,
Viler far than negro dens.
Why do we discern so clearly
Beams that dim our brother's eye,
While the motes, that mar our vision,
We so seldom can descry?
Heritage of British freeman
Never can the drunkard claim;
Slave of drink, and thrall of misery,
His the heritage of shame.
Men of temperance, men of action,
Ye who work, and think, and feel
For the cause, Heaven smiles upon you
Labouring for your country's weal.
On the battle-field of temperance
Are no garments rolled in blood,
Nor the sound of shouting warrior
Wading in the purple flood.
Patriotic zeal and pity,
Effort born of brother love,
These your arms, go on and conquer;
Success waits you from above.
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