Benjamin Cutler Clark

(1825-1875 / the United States)

On The Fugitive Law


And so you will not hear the prayer
Of thousands who, in common, share
Rights that are equal, just, and fair,—
Ye've not discuss'd!
Beware!—we warn you well!—
For soon ye must!

None dare, ye say, dispute our claim;
Nay, more!—none shall discuss or blame
'Our sacred institution!'—Shame!
This warning take:
Beware!—we warn you well!—
The laws ye make!

Your cry, so much like those of old,—
'Our time 's not come!' Then cease to scold,
For, when it does, we still will hold
This system given,—
Beware!—we warn you well!—
The frowns of Heaven!

Think ye can stop the march of mind?
Go,—think of chaining fast the wind!
Your 'fugitive laws,' all combined,
Must cease to be—
Beware!—we warn you well!—
Man will be free!

The world is rack'd with many plans
T' ameliorate this state of man's,
While every nation closely scans
Each other's ways:
Beware!—we warn you well!—
Your number'd days!

As certain birds prefer the night,
So tyrants always dread the light
Of Freedom! and the laws of right,—
As well they may:
Beware!—we warn you well!—
The people pray!

Men, for a time, may bear the ill,
To be enslav'd at human will;
Yet, in despite of tyrants' skill,
Will burst their chains:
Beware!—we warn you well!—
This truth remains!

Submitted: Tuesday, September 28, 2010
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