Poem: “The Fugitive” by W.G.H Published in the North Star in 1848

0 Posted by - March 22, 2021 - Black History, BLACK MEN, History, LATEST POSTS, Poems

The North Star was a nineteenth-century anti-slavery newspaper published from the Talman Building in Rochester, New York by abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

In 1846, Frederick Douglass was first inspired to publish The North Star after subscribing to The Liberator, a weekly newspaper published by William Lloyd Garrison. The Liberator was a newspaper established by Garrison and his supporters founded upon moral principles. The North Star title was a reference to the directions given to runaway slaves trying to reach the Northern states and Canada: Follow the North Star. Published weekly, The North Star was four pages long and sold by subscription at the cost of $2 per year to more than 4,000 readers in the United States, Europe, and the West Indies.

The paper commenced publication on December 3, 1847 and ceased as The North Star in June 1851 when it merged with Gerrit Smith’s Liberty Party Paper (based in Syracuse, New York) to form Frederick Douglass’ Paper. The North Star’s slogan was “Right is of no Sex—Truth is of no Color—God is the Father of us all, and we are all Brethren.

The Fugitive

by W.G.H

Quick, fly to the covert, thou hunted of men!
For the bloodhounds are baying o’er mountain and glen;
The riders are mounted, the loose rein is given,
And curses of wrath are ascending to heaven.
O, speed to thy footsteps! for ruin and death,
Like the hurricane’s rage, gather thick round thy path;
And the deep muttered curses grow loud and more loud,
As horse after horse swells the thundering crowd.

Speed, speed, to thy footsteps! thy track has been found;
Now, sport for the rider, and blood for the hound!
Through brake and through forest the man-prey is driven;
O, help for the hopeless, thou merciful Heaven!
On! on to the mountain! they’re baffled again,
And hope for the woe-stricken still may remain;
The fast-flagging steeds are all white with their foam,
The bloodhounds have turned from the chase to their home.

Joy! joy to the wronged one! the haven he gains,
Escaped from his thraldom, and freed from his chains!
The heaven-stamped image—the God-given soul—
No more shall the spoiler at pleasure control.
O, shame to Columbia, that on her bright plains,
Man pines in his fetters, and curses his chains!
Shame! shame! that her star-spangled banner should wave
Where the lash in made red in the blood of the slave.

Sons of old Pilgrim Fathers! and are ye thus dumb?
Shall tyranny triumph, and freedom succomb?
While mothers are torn from their children apart,
And agony sunders the cords of the heart?
Shall the sons of those sires that once spurned the chain,
Turn bloodhounds to hunt and make captive again?
O, shame to your honor, and shame to your pride,
And shame on your memory ever abide!

Will not your old sires start up from the ground,
At the crack of the whip, and bay of the hound,
And shaking their skeleton hands in your face,
Curse the germs that produced such a miscreant race?

O, rouse ye for freedom, before on your path
Heaven pours without mixture the vials of wrath!
Loose every hard burden—break off every chain—
Restore to the bondman his freedom again.


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