Burial of Barber

BEAR him, comrades, to his grave;
Never over one more brave
Shall the prairie grasses weep,
In the ages yet to come,
When the millions in our room,
What we sow in tears, shall reap.
Bear him up the icy hill,
With the Kansas, frozen still
As his noble heart, below,
And the land he came to till
With a freeman's thews and will,
And his poor hut roofed with snow!

One more look of that dead face,
Of his murder's ghastly trace!
One more kiss, O widowed one!
Lay your left hands on his brow,
Lift you right hands up and vow
That his work shall yet be done.

Patience, friends! The eye of God
Every path by Murder trod
Watches, lidless, day and night;
And the dead man in his shroud,
And his widow weeping loud,
And our hearts, are in his sight.

Every deadly threat that swells
With the roar of gambling hells,
Every brutal jest and jeer,
Every wicked thought and plan
Of the cruel heart of man,
Though but whispered, He can hear!

We in suffering, they in crime,
Wait the just award of time,
Wait the vengeance that is due;
Not in vain a heart shall break,
Not a tear for Freedom's sake
Fall unheeded: God is true.

While the flag with stars bedecked
Threatens where it should protect,
And the Law shakes hands with Crime,
What is left us but to wait,
Match our patience to our fate,
And abide the better time?

Patience, friends! The human heart
Everywhere shall take our part,
Everywhere for us shall pray;
On our side are nature's laws,
And God's life is in the cause
That we suffer for to-day.

Well to suffer is divine;
Pass the watchword down the line,
Pass the countersign: 'Endure.'
Not to him who rashly dares,
But to him who nobly bears,
Is the victor's garland sure.

Frozen earth to frozen breast,
Lay our slain one down to rest;
Lay him down in hope and faith,
And above the broken sod,
Once again, to Freedom's God,
Pledge ourselves for life or death,

That the State whose walls we lay,
In our blood and tears, to-day,
Shall be free from bonds of shame,
And our goodly land untrod
By the feet of Slavery, shod
With cursing as with flame!

Plant the Buckeye on his grave,
For the hunter of the slave
In its shadow cannot rest;
And let martyr mound and tree
Be our pledge and guaranty
Of the freedom of the West!

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John Greenleaf Whittier

John Greenleaf Whittier was an influential American Quaker poet and ardent advocate of the abolition of slavery in the United States. more…

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"Burial of Barber" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 22 Oct. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/22865/burial-of-barber>.

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