Apart from the noble sentiments of these verses, and their
exquisite diction—in which every word is the best that could
possibly be used—as in a piece of faultless mosaic every minute
stone is so placed as to impart strength, brilliancy, and harmony—they
afford an excellent example of lofty, dignified recitation:
HOSE mills of God! those tireless mills!
I hear their ceaseless throbs and thrills:
I see their dreadful stones go round,
And all the realms beneath them ground;
And lives of men and souls of states,
Flung out, like chaff, beyond their gates.
And we, O God! with impious will,
Have made these Negroes turn Thy mill!
Their human limbs with chains we bound,
And bade them whirl Thy mill-stones round;
With branded brow and fettered wrist,
We bade them grind this Nation's grist!
And so, like Samson—blind and bound—
Our Nation's grist this Negro ground;
And all the strength of Freedom's toil,
And all the fruits of Freedom's soil,
And all her hopes and all her trust,
From Slavery's gates were flung, like dust.
With servile souls this mill we fed,
That ground the grain for Slavery's bread;
With cringing men, and grovelling deeds,
We dwarfed our land to Slavery's needs;
Till all the scornful nations hissed,
To see us ground with Slavery's grist.
The mill grinds on! From Slavery's plain,
We reap great crops of blood-red grain;
And still the Negro's strength we urge,
With Slavery's gyve and Slavery's scourge;
And still we crave—on Freedom's sod—
That Slaves shall turn the mills of God!
The Mill grinds on! God lets it grind!
We sow the seed—the sheaves we bind:
The mill-stones whirl as we ordain;
Our children's bread shall test the grain!
While Samson still in chains we bind,
The mill grinds on! God lets it grind!