Thomas Dermody

(1775-1802 / Ireland)

On A Dead Negro - Poem by Thomas Dermody

AT length the tyrant stays his iron rod,
At length the iron rod can hurt no more;
The slave soft slumbers 'neath this verdant sod,
And all his years of misery are o'er.

Perchance, his soul was framed of finest mould,
His heart to goodness feelingly aspir'd;
Perchance, strong sense his every word controul'd,
And glow'd his breast with heat seraphic fir'd.

Perchance his deeds bely'd his sable hue,
And every sentiment deserv'd a throne:
But labour hid him from the general view,
And fell oppression mark'd him for her own.

O'er his low grave no tender parents weep,
Nor widow wails his loss, by all forgot;
No friends sincere their holy vigils keep,
Nor infant fingers deck the mournful spot.

Yet, far more honour'd his unsculptur'd tomb,
More sacred far than all the vaulted great;
Unwonted brightness clears his parting gloom,
And Heav'n approving smiles upon his state.

Nor thou with supercilious look deride
This votive strain, or his rough state despise;
How vain thy vaunting, impotent thy pride!
Behold him, thy superior in the skies.

Though learning fled his rude untutor'd mind,
And all the superfluities of art;
Though to his form the graces ne'er inclined,
His were the beauties of the head and heart.

Full oft the primrose courts the hawthorn shade,
And spreads her fragrance on the mean resort;
Full oft the cot receives the peasant's head,
Whose wond'rous merits had adorn'd a court.

Pass but some æras with a rapid flight,
Where then the splendours of this terrine ball?
Sunk in the bosom of oblivion's night;
And death, the ancient chronicler of all.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, September 22, 2010

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