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Poems On The Slave Trade - Sonnet I

Robert Southey 1774 (Bristol) – 1843 (London)

Hold your mad hands! for ever on your plain
 Must the gorged vulture clog his beak with blood?
 For ever must your Nigers tainted flood
Roll to the ravenous shark his banquet slain?
Hold your mad hands! what daemon prompts to rear
 The arm of Slaughter? on your savage shore
 Can hell-sprung Glory claim the feast of gore,
With laurels water'd by the widow's tear
Wreathing his helmet crown? lift high the spear!
 And like the desolating whirlwinds sweep,
 Plunge ye yon bark of anguish in the deep;
For the pale fiend, cold-hearted Commerce there
Breathes his gold-gender'd pestilence afar,
And calls to share the prey his kindred Daemon War.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Robert Southey

Robert Southey was an English poet of the Romantic school, one of the so-called "Lake Poets", and Poet Laureate for 30 years from 1813 to his death in 1843. more…

All Robert Southey poems | Robert Southey Books

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    "Poems On The Slave Trade - Sonnet I" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 11 Apr. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/31869/poems-on-the-slave-trade---sonnet-i>.

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