“Formerly A Slave” by Herman Melville

An idealized Portrait, by E. Vedder, in the Spring
Exhibition of the National Academy, 1865

The sufferance of her race is shown,
And retrospect of life,
Which now too late deliverance dawns upon;
Yet is she not at strife.

Her children’s children they shall know
The good withheld from her;
And so her reverie takes prophetic cheer–
In spirit she sees the stir.

Far down the depth of thousand years,
And marks the revel shine;
Her dusky face is lit with sober light,
Sibylline, yet benign.

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