James Madison Bell early poems frequently addressed the issue of emancipation, and this was a constant theme in his poetry. He moved to California in 1860 remaining till the end of the Civil War. Throughout the war, he spoke out against slavery and for the emancipation of slaves in the US and the West Indies. Bell’s Publications include: “The Day and the War,” Emancipation Day poem, dedicated to John Brown and “Valedictory of Leaving San Francisco California.” He wrote his most famous poem, The Progress of Liberty, in celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation.
by James M. Bell
May thy hopes never be blasted;
May thy joys never cease;
May thy love be true and lasting,
And day by day increase.
May prudence forever guard thee,
Contentment be thy friend;
May health strew roses ’round thee,
And thy peace never end.
As the lark that hails the morning
With songs so blythe and gay,
As the doves that woo the evening,
May thy hours pass away.
When the lark shall seek the willow,
And the dove ceases her cries,
Go thou, then to thy downy pillow,
Go! dream of Paradise.