Inscription under the Picture of an Aged Negro-woman

written by

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Art thou a woman? - so am I; and all
  That woman can be, I have been, or am;
  A daughter, sister, consort, mother, widow.
  Whiche'er of these thou art, O be the friend
  Of one who is what thou canst never be!
  Look on thyself, thy kindred, home, and country,
  Then fall upon thy knees, and cry "Thank GOD,
  An English woman cannot be a SLAVE!"

  Art thou a man? - Oh! I have known, have loved,
  And lost, all that to woman man can be;
  A father, brother, husband, son, who shared
  My bliss in freedom, and my woe in bondage.
  - A childless widow now, a friendless slave,
  What shall I ask of thee, since I have nought
  To lose but life's sad burden; nought to gain
  But heaven's repose? - these are beyond thy power;
  Me thou canst neither wrong nor help; - what then?
  Go to the bosom of thy family,
  Gather thy little children round thy knees,
  Gaze on their innocence; their clear, full eyes,
  All fix'd on thine; and in their mother, mark
  The loveliest look that woman's face can wear,
  Her look of love, beholding them and thee:
  Then, at the altar of your household joys,
  Vow one by one, vow altogether, vow
  With heart and voice, eternal enmity
  Against oppression by your brethern's hands:
  Till man nor woman under Britain's laws,
  Nor son nor daughter born within her empire,
  Shall buy, or sell, or hold, or be, a slave.

© James Montgomery