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To the Union Savers of Cleveland

Men of Cleveland, had a vulture
Sought a timid dove for prey
Would you not, with human pity,
Drive the gory bird away?

Had you seen a feeble lambkin,
Shrinking from a wolf so bold,
Would ye not to shield the trembler,
In your arms have made its fold?

But when she, a hunted sister,
Stretched her hands that ye might save,
Colder far than Zembla's regions,
Was the answer that ye gave.

On the Union's bloody altar,
Was your hapless victim laid;
Mercy, truth, and justice shuddered,
But your hands would give no aid.

And ye sent her back to the torture,
Robbed of freedom and of fright.
Thrust the wretched, captive stranger.
Back to slavery's gloomy night.

Back where brutal men may trample,
On her honor and her fame;
And unto her lips so dusky,
Press the cup of woe and shame.

There is blood upon our city,
Dark and dismal is the stain;
And your hands would fail to cleanse it,
Though Lake Erie ye should drain.

There's a curse upon your Union,
Fearful sounds are in the air;
As if thunderbolts were framing,
Answers to the bondsman's prayer.

Ye may offer human victims,
Like the heathen priests of old;
And may barter manly honor
For the Union and for gold.

But ye can not stay the whirlwind,
When the storm begins to break;
And our God doth rise in judgment,
For the poor and needy's sake.

And, your sin-cursed, guilty Union,
Shall be shaken to its base,
Till ye learn that simple justice,
Is the right of every race.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:21 min read
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Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper born to free parents in Baltimore Maryland was an African American abolitionist and poet more…

All Frances Ellen Watkins Harper poems | Frances Ellen Watkins Harper Books

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