Thomas Moore

(28 May 1779 – 25 February 1852 / Dublin)

Epistle Of Condolence From A Slave-Lord To A Cotton-Lord - Poem by Thomas Moore

Alas ! my dear friend, what a state of affairs !
How unjustly we both are despoil'd of our rights !
Not a pound of black flesh shall I leave to my heirs,
Nor must you any more work to death little whites.

Both forced to submit to that general controller
Of King, Lords, and cotton-mills Public Opinion ;
No more shall you beat with a big billy-roller,
Nor I with the cart-whip assert my dominion.

Whereas, were we suffered to do as we please
With our Blacks and our Whites, as of yore we were let,
We might range them alternate, like harpsichord keys,
And between us thump out a good piebald duet.

But this fun is all over; farewell to the zest
Which Slavery now lends to each cup we sip ;
Which makes still the cruellest coffee the best,
And that sugar the sweetest which smacks of the whip.

Farewell, too, the Factory's white pickaninnies,
Small, living machines, which, if flogg'd to their tasks,
Mix so well with their namesakes, the billies and jennies,
That which have got souls in 'em nobody asks ;

Little Maids of the Mill, who, themselves but ill fed,
Are oblig'd, 'mong their other benevolent cares,
To keep 'feeding the scribblers,' and better, 'tis said,
Than old Blackwood or Fraser have ever fed theirs.

All this is now o'er, and so dismal my loss is,
So hard 'tis to part from the smack of the thong,
That I mean (from pure love for the old whipping process)
To take to whipt syllabub all my life long.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 8, 2010

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