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AVENIA.

BOOK V.

ARGUMENT.

THE sale of the slaves concluded....Invocation....Miseries of the slaves....They arrive on the estate....Their labor ....Their food....The wretchedness of their habitations briefly displayed....The effects of slavery demonstrated in the destruction of AVENIA...She is forcibly violated by her master....Her lamentations for the loss of her husband.... For her country....She commits suicide by plunging from a high rock into the ocean.

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AVENIA.

BOOK V.

LONG as the morning sun, increasing bright,
O'er heav'n's pure azure spread the growing light,
The slaves are bought and sold promiscuously,
Their fates are seal'd, their fatal destiny:

But when, his ev'ning wheels o'erhung the main,
The vendue o'er, the proud tyrannnic train
Scourge their unhappy vassals o'er the plain.
Ah! melancholy muse, strike ev'ry string,
And teach your bard, your plaintive bard, to sing;
For yet more woes their tragic acts inspire,
T'attune with mournful verse, the golden lyre.
The slaves now to th' estate are drove like lambs,
Bound to the butchers, sever'd from their dams;
With beating hearts, with solemn steps, and slow,
The move along, while tears in torrents flow;
The cowskin hero wields the knotted thong,
And whips each poor unhappy wretch along:
Beneath, above, around, on ev'ry side,
Anguish pursues them like a rushing tide.
But time would fail us, if we'd pause to view
The various torments of the sable crew;
The wretched captives, whose distracted brains
Extract from all they see, substantial pains ;

And as to the plantation they advance,

Take of the hapless drove a transient glance;
Who view the moment they approach th' estate,
Their countrymen in chains, their own dire fate.
Each Christian must survey their wrongs with woe,
While down their cheeks unbidden sorrows flow;
The person who beholds their pains, nor can

Feel pity, is a monster, not a man.

No mortal eloquence can paint their woes,
Depict their wrongs, and malice of their foes:
Not MILTON's pen, nor SHAKSPEARE's tragic lyre,
Not HOMER'S flame, nor POPE's poetic fire.
To count their wrongs demands immortal tongues,
A throat of brass, and adamantine lungs,
And then could mortals view their mighty woe,
From ev'ry eye pathetic tears would flow;
The earth, air, seas, and all the three contain,
Would swell with indignation, burst with shame,
And man would execrate the barb'rous train,
Their fate is wretched, dismal and severe,
Their lamentations still assault my ear;
Remembrance sad exhibits to my view,

Sights which must make their wounds all bleed anew.
If a poor slave from servitude has ran,

They lacerate, and lop away the man;

When they have caught, they trim with brazen sheers,

The wretched slave, and rob him of his ears!
And if impell'd by hunger, he should steal,
Or strike his cruel master, thus rebel,
His arm is sure to feel the vengeful steel.
Nocturnal stars their constant wailings know,
And blushing Phœbus witnesses their woe.
Before Aurora spreads the purple day,

Rous'd by the lash, to work they're drove away ;

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Tears stream from ev'ry eye, with silent woe,
And groans burst forth at every step they go:
Soon as bright Phœbus gilds the orient morn,
With sighs they deprecate his swift return;
And ev'ry moment chides his slow-pac'd ray,
All eager, long to see the sober gray :

And from the time their grievous task began,
They're scourg❜d incessant till the setting sun.
No Christian views them with a tender tear,
They find no mercy, nor no hope to cheer;
And when their toil is o'er, like hogs repair,
To dens as wretched, and more wretched fare:
All day they plant the canes with mighty woe,
Their sighs must fan them, and their blood must flow,
And lo! their tears must drench them e'er they grow.
Naked, expos'd to Phœbus' burning beams,

When night descends, they're fed with dry horse beans ;
And but one pint, ev'n then, when work is done,
Their day's supports devour'd, when joyful sets the sun.
And oh they long to see the scanty meal,

While their tir'd limbs each hour is like to fail;
Strangers to ease, and strangers to delight,

With groans they eye the sun, and wish the night ;
Slow seems the sun to move, the hours to roll,
Their native home deep imag'd in each soul.
As the tir'd plowman spent with stubborn toil,
Whose horses long have torn the furrow'd soil,
Sees with delight the sun's declining ray,
When home with feeble knees he bends his way,
To late repast, the day's hard labor done,
So to the slaves, thus welcome sets the sun :
But he departs to joyful friends and rest,
And these to wretchedness, with grief oppress'd;
Their bodies scourg'd, and stiff with clotted gore,

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