Poem: “Away to Canada” by Poet Joshua M. Simpson

0 Posted by - May 2, 2021 - Black History, LATEST POSTS, Poems

Joshua McCarter Simpson was born a freeman. He taught himself to read and write. Simpson attended Oberlin College from 1844 to 1848, hoping to become a teacher. In 1874 he collected and published two decades’ worth of work—53 song-poems and two satirical essays. Many of his verses are meant to be sung to traditional hymns.

Away to Canada

by Joshua M. Simpson

I’m on my way to Canada,
That cold and dreary land;
The dire effects of slavery,
I can no longer stand.
My soul is vexed within me so,
To think that I’m a slave;
I’ve now resolved to strike the blow
For freedom or the grave.

0 righteous Father,
Wilt thou

not pity

And aid me on to Canada,
Where colored men are free.

I heard Victoria plainly say,
If we would all forsake
Our native land of slavery,
And come across the Lake.
That she was standing on the shore,
With arms extended wide,
To give us all a peaceful home,
Beyond the rolling tide.

Farewell, old master!
That’s enough for me—
I’m going straight to Canada,
Where colored men are free.
* * * *
I heard old master pray last night—
I heard him pray for me;
That God would come, and in his might
From Satan set me free;
So I from Satan would escape,
And flee the wrath to come—
If there’s a fiend in human shape,


master must be one.

O! old master,?
While you pray for me,
I’m doing all I can to reach
The land of Liberty.

Ohio’s not the place for me;
For I was much surprised,
So many of her sons to see
In garments of disguise.
Her name has gone out through the world,
Free Labor, Soil, and Men;
But slaves had better far be hurled
Into the Lion’s Den.

Farewell, Ohio!
I am not safe in thee;
I’ll travel on to Canada,
Where colored men are free.

I’ve now embarked for yonder shore,


a man by law,
The vessel soon will bear me o’er,
To shake

the Lion’s

I no more dread the Auctioneer,
Nor fear the master’s frowns,
I no more tremble when I hear



O! old Master,
Don’t think hard of me —
I’m just in sight of Canada,
Where colored men are free.

I’ve landed


upon the shore,
Both soul and body free;
My blood and brain, and tears no more
Will drench old Tennessee.
But I behold the scalding tear,
Now stealing from my eye,
To think my wife — my only dear,
A slave must live and die.

0, Susannah!
Don’t grieve after me—

For ever

at a throne of grace,
I will remember thee.





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