Mrs. S. A. Collins




by Mrs. S. A. Collins

Come and sit beside me darling,

      While I tell of long ago,

When these gray-haired men were soldiers,

      And these grandmas young you know.

In the South were many people,

      Who were colored dark as night,

With no chance to grow enlightened,

      Not one thing for them was bright.

White men there owned great plantations

Covering many miles of ground,

Where was raised the cane arid cotton.

      On each plantation could be found

Huts and hovels, where these negroes

      Were obliged to eat and sleep,

When not toiling in the cotton,

      Through the Southern summer's heat.

They could not like us be idle

When the heat was most intense,

For o'er them was a cruel master,

      Who used great whips for small offense.

No! They dared not leave their labor,

      For those great blood-thirsty beasts

Were ready at the master's bidding

      To mangle those within their reach.

They could track those helpless mortals,

      It mattered not which way they went,

And was sure to find deserters

      Very soon, when they sent.

Aged men and little children

      Toiled alike from sun to sun.

With no feast nor any comfort,

      When their daily work was done.

Bought and sold, just like our horses,

Were these human beings then;

Mothers robbed of tiny infants,

      Children bought by cruel men.

"Did colored mothers love their babies,

      In that time so long ago?

Why did those wicked men then take them,

      Tell me all, I'd like to know."

Yes! Methinks those colored mothers

      Had a love akin to mine,

For my children, at my fireside

      In the happy evening time.

"Why did God who loves the sparrows,

      Let such evils ever be?

Why not cause those wicked planters

      To set the colored people free?"

In his own good time he giveth,

      That to us which seemeth best,

In his kind and all-wise judgment. Listen while I tell the rest.

Cruel war must break the fetters,

      Causing, sorrow, pain land tears,

Bringing death amidst the anguish.

      Anguish through four carnal years!

I was but a tiny infant

      When from Ft. Sumpter came the knell

Calling men to arm for action,

      To what end then time must tell.

Every little town and hamlet,

      In the North, the East, the West,

Sent the boys to brave the battle,

      And cheered them on tho' in the breast

Of each mother, wife, and daughter

      Beat a heart all crushed with woe.

Oh! such partings all in sorrow,

      In that time so long ag0.

Through winter's cold and summer's heat,

      Close to the cannon's breath,

Men fought and fell, 'tis hard to tell

      Of the suffering pain and death,

For thousands of those suffering men

      Died far away from home,

And sleep tad ay near where they fell;

      Their graves are marked, "Unknown."

And others, after years of pain,

      Have passed away from view,

Until today our soldier boys

      Of years agone, are few.

Those who remain, tho' battle-scarred,

Tho' bent with weight of years,

Deserve the honor dearly bought,

      Amid the pain and tears.

And that dear old flag our emblem true,

      Which took the lead in war,

Whose colors cheered our boys in blue,

      Demands a loud “huzza.”

Our noble leader, he who dared

      To face a Nation's wrath,

With words and deeds, led on to right,

      Then met a martyr's death.

He too should have in memory's urn;

      A place all time to come,

A hallowed spot in every heart.

      Our faithful Abraham!

And as we decorate the graves

      Of our heroes gone before,

Let's pledge anew our "loyalty"

To our nation evermore.