Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, GIVE HIM HIS DUE, by LEVI BISHOP

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

GIVE HIM HIS DUE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: These sentimental lines we write
Last Line: To swell the shout of victory.
Subject(s): Blacks; Nations; Reconstruction (1865-1876)

These sentimental lines we write,
Make this deduction:
In sixty-five, when all unite
For "reconstruction."

The African is here, with sombre hue
In culture as in skin. Yet he was true,
E'en to oppressors, when, in deadly strife,
Millions went forth "to save a nation's life."

The danger, toil and death he shared;
He stormed the breach, his breast he bared,
In faith devout;
He stood as of a nation's brave,
And heard, while sinking to the grave,
The victor shout.

Then give him what is due; strike off his chain:
For blood like water poured, this much we gain:
Freedom we purge forever of the shame
Of bondage deep. We vindicate our name.
Then let him have his due. Let earth and sea
Echo the cannon's roar, and speak him free.
This much we may and should. He earned it well:
Then let his race, and now and ever tell
Of his deliverance. His lot at best
Is pitiful. His future is the test
How fast and far 'tis safe and best to go,
In lifting up a race now sunk so low.

But this we safely, justly, nobly can --
Proclaim, at least, and make him free;
Let him stand forth, as he was made, a man,
To swell the shout of victory.

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