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To The Gad-Fly

George Moses Horton 1779 (North Carolina) – 1883

Majestic insect! from thy royal hum,
The flies retreat, or starve before they'll come;
The obedient plough-horse may, devoid of fear,
Perform his task with joy, when thou art near.

As at the Lion's dread alarming roar,
The inferior beasts will never wander more,
Lest unawares he should be seized away,
And to the prowling monster fall a prey.

With silent pleasure often do I trace
The fly upon the wing, with rapid pace,
The fugitive proclaims upon the wind,
The death-bound sheriff is not far behind.

Ye thirsty flies beware, nor dare approach,
Nor on the toiling animal encroach;
Be vigilant, before you buzz too late,
The victim of a melancholy fate.

Such seems the caution of the once chased fly,
Whilst to the horse she dare not venture nigh;
This useful Gad-Fly traversing the field,
with care the lab'ring animal to shield.

Such is the eye of Providential care,
Along the path of life forever there;
Whose guardian hand by day doth mortals keep
And gently lays them down at night to sleep.

Immortal Guard, shall I thy pleasures grieve
Like Noah's dove, wilt thou the creature leave,
No never, never, whilst on earth I stay.
And after death, then fly with me away.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:03 min read

George Moses Horton

George Moses Horton was an African-American poet and the first African American poet to be published in the Southern United States. His book was published in 1828 while he was still a slave; he remained a slave until he was emancipated late in the Civil War. more…

All George Moses Horton poems | George Moses Horton Books

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