Karagwe, an African by Henry Abbey
This is his story as I gathered it;
The simple story of a plain, true man.
I cling with Abraham Lincoln to the fact,
That they who make a nation truly great
Are plain men, scattered in each walk of life.
To them, my words. And if I cut, perchance.
Against the rind of prejudice, and disclose
The fruit of truth, it is for the love of truth;
And truth, I hold with Joubert, to consist
In seeing things and persons as God sees.
An African, thick lipped, and heavy heeled,
With woolly hair, large eyes, and even teeth,
A forehead high, and beetling at the brows
Enough to show a strong perceptive thought
Ran out beyond the eyesight in all things—
A negro with no claim to any right,
A savage with no knowledge we possess
Of science, art, or books, or government—
Slave from a slaver to the Georgia coast,
His life disposed of at the market rate;
Yet in the face of all, a plain, true man—
Lowly and ignorant, yet brave and good,
Karagwe, named for his native tribe.
His buyer was the planter, Dalton Earl,
Of Valley Earl, an owner of broad lands,
Whose wife, in some gray daybreak of the past,
Had tarried with the night, and passed away;
But left him, as the marriage ring of death
Was slipped upon her finger, a fair child.
He called this daughter Coralline. To him
She was a spray of whitest coral, found
Upon the coast where death's impatient sea
Hems in the narrow continent of life.
Each day brought health and strength to Karagwe.
Each day he worked upon the cotton-field,
And every boll he picked had thought in it.
He labored, but his mind was otherwhere;
Strange fancies, faced with ignorance and doubt,
Came peering in, each jostling each aside,
Like men, who in a crowded market-place,
Push 'gainst the mob, to see some pageant pass.
All things were new and wonderful to him.
What were the papers that his owner read?
The marks and characters, what could they mean?
If speech, what then the use of oral speech?
At last by digging round the spreading roots
Of this one thought, he found the treasure out—
Knowledge: this was the burden which was borne
By these black, busy, ant-like characters.
But how acquire the meaning of the signs?
He found a scrap of paper in the lane,
And put it by, and saved it carefully,
Till once, when all alone, he drew it forth,
And gazed at it, and strove to learn its sense.
But while he studied, Dalton Earl rode by,
And angered at the indication shown,
Snatched rudely at the paper in his hand,
And tore it up, commanding that the slave
Have fifty lashes for this breach of law.
Long on his sentence pondered Karagwe.
Against the law? Who then could make a law
Decreeing knowledge to a certain few,
To others ignorance? Surely not God;
For God, the white-haired negro with a text
Had said loved justice, and was friend to all.
If man, then the authority was null.
The fifty lashes scourged the slave's bare back,
The red blood running down at every stroke,
The dark skin clinging ghastly to the lash.
No moan escaped him at the stinging pain.
Tremblingly he stood, and patiently bore all;
His heart indignant, shaking his broad breast,
Strong as the heart that Hippodamia wept,
Which with the cold, intrusive brass thrust through,
Shook even the Greek spear's extremity.
And so the negro's energy, made strong
By the one vile argument of the lash,
Was given to learn the secret of the books.
He studied in the woods, and by the fall
Which shoots down like an arrow from the cliff,
Feathered with spray and barbed with hues of flint.
His books were bits of paper printed on,
Found here and there, brought thither by the wind.
Once standing near the bottom of the fall
And gazing up, he saw upon the verge
Of the dark cliff above him, gathering flowers,
His master's child, sweet Coralline; she leaned
Out over the blank abyss, and smiled.
He climbed the bank, but ere he reached the height,
A shriek rang out above the water's roar;
The babe had fallen, and a quadroon girl
Lay fainting near, upon the treacherous sward.
The babe had fallen, but with no injury yet.
Karagwe slipped down upon a narrow ledge,
And reaching out, caught hold the little frock,
Whose folds were tangled in a bending shrub,
And safely drew the child back to the cliff.
The slave had favors shown him after this,
Although he spoke not of the perilous deed,
Nor spoke of any merit he had done.
By being always when he could alone,
By wandering often in the woods and fields,
He came at last to live in revery.
But little thought is there in revery,
But little thought, for most is useless dream;
And whoso dreams may never learn to act.
The dreamer and the thinker are not kin.
Sweet revery is like a little boat
That idly drifts along a listless stream—
A painted boat, afloat without an oar.
And nature brought strange meanings to the slave;
He loved the breeze, and when he heard it pass
The agitated pines, he fancied it
The silken court-dress of the lady Wind,
Bustling among the foliage, as she went
To waltz the whirlwind on the distant sea.
The negro preacher with the text had said
That when men died, the soul lived on and on;
If so, of what material was the soul?
The eye could not behold it; why not then
The viewless air be filled with living souls?
Not only these, but other shapes and forms
Might dwell unseen about us at all times.
If air was only matter rarefied,
Why could not things still more impalpable
Have real existence? Whence came our thoughts?
As angels came to shepherds in Chaldee;
They were not ours. He fancied that most thoughts
Were whispered to the soul, or good, or bad.
The bad were like a demon, a vast shape
With measureless black wings, that when it dared,
Placed its clawed foot upon the necks of men,
And with the very shadow of itself,
Made their lives darker than a starless night.
He did not strive to picture out the good,
Or give to them a figure; but he knew
No glory of the sunset could compare
With the clear splendor of one noble deed.
He proudly dreamed that to no other mind
Had these imaginings been uttered.
Alas! poor heart, how many have awoke,
And found their newest thoughts as old as time—
Their brightest fancies woven in the threads
Of ancient poems, history or romance,
And knowledge still elusive and far off.
The days that lengthen into years went on.
The quadroon girl who fainted on the cliff
Was Ruth; now, blooming into womanhood,
She looked on Karagwe, and seeing there
Something above the level of the slave,
Watched him with interest in all his ways.
At first through pity was she drawn to him.
While both were sitting on a rustic seat,
Near the tall mansion where the planter dwelt,
A drunken overseer came straggling past,
And seeing in the dusk a female form,
Swayed up to her, and caught her by the arm,
And with an insult, strove to drag her on.
Ruth spoke not; but the negro, with one grasp
Upon the white man, caused her quick release.
He turned, and in the face struck Karagwe.
The patient slave did not return the blow,
But the next day they tied him to a post,
And fifty stripes his naked shoulders flayed.
Stricken in mind at being deeply wronged,
Filled with a noble scorn, that men most learned
Would so degrade a brother race of men,
He wept at heart; no groan fled through his lips.
Yet in a few days he was forced to go
And work beneath the intolerable sun,
Picking the cotton-boll, and bearing it
In a rude basket, on his wounded back,
Up a steep hill-side to the cotton gin.
Ruth, as she walked the pebbled garden lanes,
Or daily in her hundred household cares,
Thought of the dark face and noble heart
Of Karagwe, and truly pitied him.
He, when the labor of the day was done,
Moved through the dusk, among the dewy leaves,
And, darker than the shadows, scaled the wall,
And waited in the garden, crouching down
Among the foliage of the fragrant trees,
Hoping that she again might come that way.
He saw her through the window of the house,
Pass and repass, and heard her sweetly sing
A tender song of love and pity blent;
But would not call to her, nor give a sign
That he was there; to see her was enough.
Perhaps, if those about her knew he came
To meet her in the garden, they would place
Some punishment upon her, some restraint,
That she, though innocent, might have to bear.
So he passed back again to his low cot,
And on his poor straw pallet, dreamed of her,
As loyally perhaps as Chastelard,
Lying asleep upon his palace couch,
Dreamed of Queen Mary, and the love he gave.
Ruth was but tinged with shade, and always seemed
Some luscious fruit, with but the slightest hint
Of something foreign to the grafted bough
Whereon it grew. Her eyes were black, and large,
And passionate, and proved the deathless soul,
That through their portals looked upon the world,
Was capable of hatred and revenge.
Her long black lashes hung above their depths,
Like lotus leaves o'er some Egyptian spring.
And they were dreamy, too, at intervals,
And glowed with tender beauty when she loved.
Her grace made for her such appropriate wear,
That, though her gown was of the coarsest cloth,
And though her duty was the lowest kind,
It seemed apparel more desirable
Than trailing robes of velvet or of silk.
Her voice was full, and sweet, and musical,
Soft as the low breathings of an instrument
Touched by the unseen fingers of the breeze.
The large plantation, next to Dalton Earl's,
Was owned by Richard Wain, a hated man—
Hated among his slaves and in the town.
Uncouth, revengeful, and a drunkard he.
Two miles up by the river ran his lands;
And here, within a green-roofed kirk of woods,
The slave found that seclusion he desired.
His only treasure was a Testament
Hid in the friendly opening of a tree.
Often the book was kept within his cot,
At times lay next his heart, nor did its beat
Defile the fruity knowledge on the leaves.
The words were sweet as wine of Eshcol grapes
To his parched lips. He saw the past arise.
Vague were the people, and the pageant moved,
Uncertain as the figures in the dusk;
Yet One there was, who stood in bold relief;
A lovely, noble face with sweeping beard,
And hair that trailed in beauty round his neck;
A patient man, whose deeds were always good.
Whose words were brave for freedom and mankind.
In passing through the grounds of Richard Wain,
Karagwe found, upon a plat of grass,
Some sheets of paper fastened at the ends,
Blown from the house, he thought, or thrown away.
The sheets were closely written on and sealed.
Here was a long-sought opportunity
To learn the older letters of the pen.
That night the writings, wrapped about the Book,
Were safe within the hollow of the tree.
All day he dreamed, "What token shall I give.
That she will know my thought and understand."
He caught at last a velvet honey-bee,
Weighed down with its gold treasure in its belt,
And killed it; then, when morning came again,
Bore it to Ruth beneath the fragrant trees.
"I bring you, Ruth, a dead bee for a sign.
For if to-day you wear it in your hair,
When once again you come to walk the lane,
I then shall know that you are truly mine,
Willing to be my wife, and share my lot,
And let me toil with you like any bee;
But if you do not wear it, then I shall care
No more for anything; but waste my life,
A bee without a queen." Then not one word
Spoke Ruth; but when the sunset came, and she
Went from the house again to walk alone,
The dead bee glittered gem-like in her hair.
And him she met for whom the sign was meant,
And in his hand she laid her own, and smiled.
The next day, Richard Wain, when riding past,
Heard Ruth's bird-voice trilling in the lane,
And caught a glimpse of her between the trees,
A picture, for an instant, in a frame.
He thought, "The prize I coveted is near;
She will be mine before the set of sun."
Returning soon, toward the house he went,
Strode to the door, calling for Dalton Earl,
And told him for what merchandise he came.
The girl was not for sale, the other said.
"You talk at random now," said Richard Wain,
"You know I hold the deed of all your lands,
And so, unless you let the woman go,
Your whole estate shall have a sheriff's sale."
The planter turned a coward at the threat,
And knowing well what blood ran in the veins
Of her he sold, reluctant gave consent.
Above his wine he told Ruth of her fate,
And to the floor she fell, and swooned away.
Recovering, she rose upon her knees,
And begged, and prayed, that she might still remain.
At this he told her how the lands were held,
And if she went not he must starve or beg.
"Then let the lands be sold, and sold again;
If his, they are not yours. What good will come
If I do go to him? then all is his.
Last night I gave my hand to Karagwe.
O, it will break my heart to go away."
Lightly his mustache twirled Dalton Earl.
At dusk, in tears to Karagwe's low roof,
Ruth passed, and uttered, with wild, angry words,
The hard conditions that had been imposed.
She wept; he comforted: "There yet was hope:
There was a Hero, in a Book he read,
Who said that those who suffered would be blessed."
Then for the last, toward the planter's house
They walked, and o'er them saw the spider moon
Weaving the storm upon its web of cloud.
But Karagwe, when once he turned again,
Smote wildly his infuriated breast.
His fierce eyes flashed; he thirsted for revenge.
Then came a calmer mood, and far away
Sped the expelled thoughts like shuddering gusts of wind.
He wept that this injustice should be done;
Yet knew that in God's hand the scale was set,
And though His poor, down-trodden, waited long,
They waited surely, for His hour would come.
The night passed, and the troublous morning broke,
And Ruth was sold away from him she loved.
The dark day died, and when the moon arose,
The foremost torch in day's long funeral train,
Karagwe went down toward the river's brink,
Thinking of what had been. He turned and saw
His enemy walk calmly up the road.
Quickly behind him came another form;
And in a jeweled hand, half raised to strike,
A poniard glistened. Then the negro rose,
And caught the weapon from the assassin's grasp,
And stood before the planter, Dalton Earl!
"Forgive," he said, "Forgiveness is a slave;
She has no pride, she never does an ill;
For she is meekly great, and nobly good,
And patient, though the lash of anger smites."
Rebuked, the master stood before the slave,
And Richard Wain passed on, nor knew his life
Was saved by one that he had that day wronged.
Thus Dalton Earl: "I thank you for this act,
Thwarting a bad intent. Yet I had cause
To take the sullied life of Richard Wain.
He drugged the wine he gave me at his house,
And knowing that I had with me the deed
And title of my lands, begged me to play,
And while I played, stake all upon a card.
He won, and I have hated from that hour."
Like some great thought that finds release at last,
The happy Spring in buds expression found.
Coralline Earl grew rich in every grace.
Her eyes' blue heavens were serene with soul,
And goodness sunned her face from light within.
Her hands were soft with kindness. On her brow
Shone hope, more lovely than a ruby star.
As in the ancient days sat Mordecai
At the king's gate, and waited for the hour,
When, clothed with pomp, he too should take his seat
Among the mighty nobles of the land,
So at the gateway of her palace heart,
Love tarried, that he too might enter in,
And rule the kingdom of another life.
Not long the waiting; for when Stanley Thane
Came from his northern home with Dalton Earl,
And on the terrace steps met Coralline,
Love took the sceptre that his waiting won.
Well worthy to be loved was Stanley Thane.
He could not claim a titled ancestor,
Nor boast of any blood but Puritan.
His father was successful on exchange,
Reaped fortune by a rise in merchandise,
Now sent his partner son with Dalton Earl
Toward the claspless girdle of the South.
And Stanley Thane was all that makes true men;
High thought, high purpose, loving right the best,
His mind was clear and fresh as air at morn.
He kissed the rosy tips of Coralline's hand,
And that day galloped with her through the town,
And wandered with her down magnolia lanes,
And watched, below the spray-woofed fall, the brook,
That seemed a maid, who, sitting at a loom,
Wove misty lace to decorate the rocks.
Long o'er his writings hidden in the tree
Pondered the slave, and found at last their worth.
Must he return them? To whom did they belong?
If he should give them back to Dalton Earl
Unjustly, Richard Wain might claim them still.
He chose to keep there folded round the Book,
Hid in the secret hollow of the tree.
He thought of Ruth as one who was at rest,
And wept for her as though she was no more,
And sometimes gathered flowers, and placed them where
He knew she soon would pass, as tenderly
As though he laid them down upon her grave.
Once in the twilight, as the shadows fell,
A skiff shot from the under-reaching shore,
And Stanley Thane and Coralline sailed down
The languid waters, 'neath the dappled moon.
They spoke of giant wars that yet might be
To drive the dragon Slavery from the land.
Coralline smoothed the evils it had wrought.
Stanley, who could not see a wrong excused,
Said, "God is just; he knows nor white nor black.
If war must come, each shackle will be forced,
To make, at last, the nation wholly free."
And Karagwe, who pulled a silent oar,
Shut the winged words in cages of his heart;
But Coralline was angry at the speech,
And rained disdain on noble Stanley's head,
Scorning his Northern thought and Northern blood,
And sighed that it had been their lot to meet.
"If that is true," he said, "then let us part,
And let us hope we shall not meet again.
Adieu! for I shall see you never more."
The boat was near the bank; he sprang to it,
And left her sitting in the gilded prow—
Her pride, a raging Hector of the hour,
Fighting a thousand tears, whose war-cry rose:
Thin patience brings thick damage in the end.
When Richard Wain found that the deed was lost,
Which he had won at play with Dalton Earl,
Chagrin and rage were ready at a beck,
Like waters in a dam, to pass the race,
And turn the voluble mill-wheel of his tongue.
He half suspected Dalton Earl the thief,
Yet knew, if this were true, the threat he made
To gain Ruth from him, would have been in vain.
And so, because he feared to lose his power,
He kept his secret that the deed was lost.
Now through the mighty pulses of the land
Throbbed the dark blood of war; and Sumter's guns
Were the first heart-beats of a better day.
The avenging angel, with a scourging sword
Of fire and death, with triumph on his face,
Swept o'er the nation with the cry of War!
Ten thousand boroughs, dreaming peace, awake.
War in the South, with the South! War! War!
The shame we nourished stings us to the death.
O, fair, false wife, South! lo, thy lord, the North,
Loveth thee still, though thou hast gone astray.
In truth's great court, vain has thy trial been,
For no divorce could there be granted thee.
The child you bore was bitter curse and shame,
And not the child of thy husband, the North.
It has led thee to miry paths, and raised
The gall of despair to thy famished lips;
It were better that such a child should die.
The first year of the war had passed away
When Richard Wain, the planter, sprang to arms.
The day for his departure had been set;
To-morrow it would be, and as the night
Fell on the misty hills, and on the vales,
He sat alone in his accustomed room;
Thinking, he drowsed; his chin couched on his breast;
A dim light wrought at shadows on the walls.
Slowly the sash was raised behind him there.
Perhaps he slept; he did not heed the noise,
And Karagwe sprang in, and faced his foe.
He held a long knife up and brandished it,
And said, "As surely as you call or move,
Tour life will not be worth a blade of grass;
But if you do not call, and sign the words,
That I have written on a paper here,
No harm will come, and I shall go away."
He drew the paper forth; the planter read:
I promise if the deed is ever found
Of Dalton Earl's estate, I in no way
Shall lay a claim to it to make it mine.
I here surrender all my right to it.
"Why, this I shall not sign, of course," he said.
"You might have asked me to give back your Ruth,
And I would not have minded; but your game
Lies deeper than a check upon the queen."
"Sign!" cried the negro; and at Ruth's name,
A sudden madness leaped along his nerves,
Like flame among the dry prairie grass.
"Sign! for unless you sign this writing now,
You shall not live; now promise me to sign!"
He caught the planter fiercely by the throat,
Starting his quailing eyes, "Now will you sign or not?
You have ten seconds more to make your choice."
"Give me the paper then, and I will sign."
The name was written, and the negro went;
But not an hour had passed, before the hounds
Of Richard Wain and Dalton Earl were slipped,
And scenting on his track through stream and field.
The slave first ran toward the hollow tree;
There left the paper signed by Richard Wain,
Disturbing not the deed; but took the Book,
And up the tireless road, tied on and on,
Until he gained the borders of a marsh.
The night was dark, but darker still the clouds
That loomed along the rim where day had gone.
The wind blew cold, and hastened quickly past,
Escaping, like a slave, the hound-like clouds
Whose thunder-barkings sounded in its ears.
And Karagwe had only reached the marsh,
When on his track he heard the savage dogs.
He knew the paths and windings many miles,
And even in the darkness found his way,
And gained a covert island, where a hut,
Built by some poor and friendless fugitive,
Afforded shelter and secure abode.
He tarried here until along the hills
The red-lipped whisper of the morning ran.
Then, when he would have ventured from the door,
A large black hound arose, and licked his hand.
The dog was Dalton Earl's; he started back.
The dream of freedom nourished many years
Seemed withering, and for the moment lost.
For long the slave had thought of liberty,
And worshipped her, as in that elder time
A tyrant's subjects worshipped, praying her
That she would not delay, but hasten forth,
And bridge the hated gulf 'twixt rich and poor,
By freeing all the mass from ignorance,
By lifting up the worthy of the earth,
And making knowledge paramount to wealth.
O strange, that in our age, and in a land
Where liberty was laid the corner-stone,
A slave, perforce, should be obliged to dream,
And dote on freedom, like the poor oppressed
Who lived and hoped two thousand years ago!
And slavery to this slave was like a fruit—
A bitter and a hateful fruit to taste—
The fruit of error and of ignorance,
Made rank with superstition and with crime.
Yet though the fruit was bitter to the core,
Many there were who died for love of it.
O, many they who listen through long nights
To hear a footstep that will never come.
There is not a flower along the border blown,
From Lookout Mountain to the Chesapeake,
But has in it the blood of North and South.
Karagwe went back, and on a paper wrote,—
"Your dog has harmed me not, and why should you,
That I have never wronged, plot harm to me?
You made me slave, you sold away my bride,
And now you set your hounds upon my track,
Because I seek the freedom that is mine.
Though you have wronged me, still I do you good,
For in an oak, the largest of the grove,
Upon the cotton-field of Richard Wain,
Hid in a hollow near the second limb,
Is the lost deed that holds your house and lands."
The paper fastened round the hound's strong neck,
The negro bade him go, and forth he went;
And Earl read what the slave had written down,
And that day found the deed hid in the tree,
And that day ceased pursuing any more.
For two long weeks the negro in the swamps
Wandered toward the North, living at times
On berries and on fruit. Above him leaned
The tall trees, bower-like 'neath their wrestling arms;
Beneath, the murky waters, black as death,
Stirred only to the plunge of venomed things.
The long, seared grasses clung to every bough
Whose trailing robe hung near the sluggish lymph.
And here and there, among the savage moss,
Blossomed alone some snowy gold-spired flower,
Like God's own church found in a heathen land.
The birds o'erhead, that, plumaged like the morn,
Caroled their sweetness, sang the holy psalms.
But now across his path the negro found
A belt of water falling with the tide.
Two heavy logs he lashed, and launched them out,
Then, with a pole for help in case of need,
Sprang on the float, and drifted down the stream.
Thus for two days he drifted, eating naught
Except the berries growing near the shore.
Then on a cool, bright morning, when the wind
And tide agreed, he saw again the sea.
Far off a buoy was tossing on the waves,
Much like the red heart of the joyful deep—
Much like a heart upon a sea of life;
And ships were in the offing, sailing on
Like the vague ships that with our hopes and fears
Put from their harbors to return no more.
The raft went oceanward. The negro raised
Upon the pole the coat that he had worn,
Hoping for succor from the distant ships;
And not in vain; for ere the sun had set,
Half starved, he clambered up a vessel's side,
And found himself with friends, and on his way
To freedom, 'neath the steadfast northern star.
Two years of war, two years of many tears,
And Richard Wain, a captain of renown,
In ranks led on by error, fought and fell.
Within the breast of Coralline, Stanley Thane
Possessed acknowledged empire; all her love
Was poured out on him, and her heart
Stood like an emptied vase. Then from the North
Came rumors of his daring, and the war
Gloomed like a night about her,—he its star.
The golden spirit in each lily bloom,
That, pollen-vestured, laughs at care all day
Had closed the doors and shutters of its house.
Forth in the dewy garden, 'neath the stars,
Walked Coralline and Ruth, sad and alone;
For Ruth was owned again by Dalton Earl.
"I grieve," said Coralline, "that Stanley Thane
Left me so rashly, and that he thinks
My hasty words were said with earnest thought.
Would that a bird might fly to him and sing—
'She loves you still, Stanley, she loves you still.'"
Ruth followed quickly, "Your wish is heard;
For I will go to him who once was here,
And say to him the words that you have said."
Then fell the other on the quadroon's neck,
And kissed her through her tears, and promised her
Her freedom, if she went to Stanley Thane.
She did not dream what impulse urged the slave,
Nor that in sending her toward the North
Bearing a message full of trust and love,
She sent a message smeared with blood instead.
For Ruth hoped now for vengeance for her past.
Wronged by her father, she would wreak her hate
Full on her sister, and destroy her peace,
As hers had been destroyed in dark dead days.
That night she stole a knife, and sharpened it,
And while she drew it up and down the stone,
Sipped from the poison nectar of revenge.
She thought of Stanley Thane, and pitied him
That he should be the victim of her hate;
But wished that Coralline could see him then,
After the violent knife had done its work,
Laid out and ready for his last abode.
So Ruth arose, and when the wine-lipped Dawn,
Gathering his robes about him like a god,
Went up to the great summits of the world
From the black valleys of immeasurable space,
She passed beyond the limit of the vale.
Those she loved best had all been torn away;
The last, her child, was sold she knew not where;
And Coralline too should taste a bitter cup,
Feeling the fury of a deep revenge.
For many days Ruth journeyed to the North,
And reached at last the camp. She passed the guard,
And in the night discovered Stanley's tent;
Then gliding in, bent o'er him while he slept.
He dreamed of Coralline, and in his sleep
Said—"Coralline, 'tis better to forgive."
And Ruth who heard, cried, "She forgives;
She loves you still, Stanley—she loves you still!"
At this he woke, and saw the woman there,
And saw the weapon raised above his breast,
And a vague horror at the mockery of the words
Left him all powerless, and sealed up his speech.
But one swift hand passed in and grasped the arm,
And snatched the knife, and there before them stood
Karagwe, with Ruth Earl face to face.
And after, at Fort Pillow, when the storm
Had gone against us, and the traitors slew
Five hundred men who had laid down their arms,
Karagwe was shot, and with a prayer
For his whole country, he fell back and died.
Some, seeking the highest type of noble men,
Compare their heroes with the cavaliers,
Boasting their ancestry through tangled lines;
But I, who care not for patrician blood,
Hold him the highest who constrains great ends,
Or rounds a prudent life with noble deeds.