Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE REPEAL OF THE MISSOURI COMPROMISE CONSIDERED, SELECTION, by ELYMAS PAYSON ROGERS



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THE REPEAL OF THE MISSOURI COMPROMISE CONSIDERED, SELECTION, by            
First Line: The covetous nebraskaites
Last Line: For god's predictions must prevail.
Subject(s): Abolitionists; Kansas; Legislation; Missouri; Nebraska; Slavery; Anti-slavery; Serfs


The covetous Nebraskaites
Have near extinguished Freedom's lights,
Have thrown her altars to the ground
And hurled the hallowed parts around.
And then, their treason to complete,
They've leaped with their unhallowed feet
Upon the fragments on the sand,
(Still both magnificent and grand,)
And in their wild delirium swore
That liberty should be no more.
The dignified and lofty tree,
Of heaven-descending liberty,
No longer tow'ring upward stands,
But, prostrate by Vandalic hands,
Lies where the faithless act was done,
And withers in the noon-tide sun.

"I want the land," was Freedom's cry;
And Slavery answered, "So do I!
By all that's sacred, I declare
I'll have my just and lawful share.
The Northern cheek should glow with shame
To think to rob me of my claim:
And if my claim you dare deny,
I'll knock the Union into pi."
The Northern faces did not glow,
Because they were composed of dough:
But such a tall and horrid threat
Their equilibrium upset.
"O gracious heavens!" the patriot said,
As nervously he shook his head,
And quickly moved his tangled hair
To feel the bump of firmness there:
But how distracted was his mind,
When searching long he could not find
This stately organ of the brain,
Nor could the mystery explain,
Or make a fit apology
For this freak of phrenology.
The reason why the bump was low
Was it was fashioned out of dough;
And Slavery's bold and fearless threat
Had crushed the lofty organ flat.

This horrid threat from Southern men,
In Congress was all powerful then;
And when the North opposed the South,
This remedy sealed up their mouth,
And made them quickly toe the mark
And sanction schemes however dark.
The Union breaking threat prevailed,
When every other measure failed.

But recently the North drove back
The Southern tyrants from the track,
And put to flight their boasting ranks,
And gave the speaker's chair to BANKS.

In twenty tyranny prevailed,
And Northern men before it quailed
And bowed to Slavery -- sad mistake --
But all was for the Union's sake.
The glorious Union, they declared,
Must never, never be impaired!
It is, said they, a sacred thing,
And to it we will ever cling;
The Union is above all price.
'Tis wisdom to convey a slice
Of territory, thus to save
The Union from a dismal grave.
And if God's righteous law we break,
'Twill all be for the Union's sake!
We must support the Constitution
And if we sin seek absolution.

A few, of never-dying fame,
Would never yield to Slavery's claim,
Would have no fellowship with it,
And now their wisdom we admit.
But these were a minority,
The others a majority;
And hence the Compromise was made,
And Slavery's claim was duly paid.

And, after gaining his desire,
He scarce was willing to retire,
And, as he turned to take his leave,
He laughed immoderate in his sleeve,
And said he'd surely call for more
In eighteen hundred fifty-four.
"The rest," quoth he, "I cannot get,
I am not strong enough as yet;
But when I am maturely strong,
I'll seize the balance, right or wrong."

But Freedom cried, "Wo worth the day
When such a treacherous game you play;
And such a treacherous game to win
Would be a most atrocious sin.
The act would gracious heaven defy,
And tempt the Majesty on high;
And then would ruin most complete
Accompany your sad defeat."

"But hold!" said Slavery; "you're too fast;
I judge the future by the past.
I always have high heaven defied,
And man's authority denied;
I always have securely seized
And borne away whate'er I pleased,
And, if my numerous games be sin,
Whene'er I play, I always win:
And I control the legislation
Of this great democratic nation,
And to my tried and cordial friends
My lib'ral patronage extends;
I raise them up to seats of power,
Although unworthy, base, and poor.
O'er each department I preside,
And all official actions guide;
I send ambassadors afar,
And, when I please, provoke a war
Ostensibly for public weal,
But 'tis in fact my burning zeal
To multiply my territory,
Instead of for the nation's glory.
And presidents I nominate
For confirmation by each State,
And no Chief-Magistrate is made
Without my all-sufficient aid.
Of politics, I am the pope
To whom each candidate must stoop,
And there devoutly kneeling low
Do homage to my sacred toe.
All these are facts which I defy
My sanguine scoffers to deny.

"Some Northern men despise me much
And fear pollution from my touch,
And cry to heaven both night and day
To smite me dead without delay;
Then from their altars turn away,
The painted hypocrite to play,
And to my filthy garments cling
And seek to crown me as their king.
If I but gain their votes at last,
I care not how they pray and fast;
Their prayers are but the merest hoax --
But daring and blasphemous jokes.
When I am privileged to see
Their words and actions both agree,
I then may tremble, not before,
Upon my lofty seat of power.

"And now," said Slavery, "I must go;
I've business down in Mexico;
But purpose to return this way
Upon the first auspicious day,
And with no acts preparatory
Enlarge my spacious territory."

Then Freedom gave a mournful sigh,
But made no audible reply.

And who can truthfully allege
That Slavery's not redeemed his pledge.
He has returned, increased in might,
And put his strongest foes to flight.
The Compromise, as we've supposed,
Which was by prudent men proposed,
Was clearly all the measure then
Which would unite our Congressmen.
And some constituents confessed
The measure was by far the best
To cause fierce jealousies to cease,
And to establish public peace;
And, as the loaf could not be won,
The half was preferable to none.
And thus united did they fix
The parallel of thirty-six
And thirty minutes, to divide
The land, and ever to decide
The bounds of Slavery's dismal night.

For thirty years the Compromise
Has met with favor in the eyes
Of Unionists throughout the nation,
Of every party, creed and station.
And when the venerable act
Was first by ruthless hands attacked,
The wise and good of every creed
Repudiated such a deed.
The country's noble Constitution,
The parent of each institution,
Was no more sacred in their eyes
Than the Missouri Compromise.
But now the precious Compromise
In wild and reckless ruin lies,
Plucked like a jewel from a crown,
And ruthlessly is trodden down.

And why this wild and daring deed
For which our land must surely bleed?
Why is the landmark now removed,
The landmark which the sires approved?
Why are the fathers' works erased,
Their early monuments defaced?
Why is their wisdom cast aside
Which thirty years have sanctified?

It is, indeed, O, sad to tell!
For 'tis a measure fresh from hell,
It is that Slavery may expand
O'er all our new and fertile land;
That its black flag may be unfurled,
And wave o'er all the western world;
That tyrants may the helpless spoil,
And thrive on unrequited toil;
May bury hope in deep despair,
And traffic in God's image there:
That they may there exert their sway
And more securely hold their prey,
And pass this scheme of degradation
To the succeeding generation;

But all the blind Nebraskaites
Who have invaded human rights,
Will at the North in every case
Be overwhelmed in deep disgrace.
The President and Cabinet,
Together with his lordly set,
Will all undoubtedly retire
As fast as legal terms expire.
Their steps they cannot now retrace,
They're sinking deeper in disgrace,
And stormy vengeance waits to shed
Her bitterness on every head.
When their eventful life is o'er,
No one their loss will much deplore;
And when their kindred call their name,
Their cheeks will mantle o'er with shame;
But soon their names will be forgot,
The memory of them all shall rot.
And let their burying places be
Upon the coast beside the sea;
And let the ever-rolling surge
Perform a constant funeral dirge.
And when the stranger shall demand
Why these are buried in the sand,
Let him be told without disguise
They trod upon the Compromise!

But o'er us reigns the Holy One:
He does but speak and it is done:
He has declared that truth shall roll
Until it reaches either pole.
And though her enemies may be
Like pebbles round the rolling sea,
They all will ultimately fail:
For God's predictions must prevail.





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