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The Quadroon Girl
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

US nineteenth century poet and author.

Best known for the poem Hiawatha (1855). His first book of poetry was Voices of the Night (1839) which included Hymn to the Night and A Psalm of Life, Ballads and Other Poems (1841) included The Village Blacksmith and The Skeleton in Armor. Among his other works are Outre-Mer: A pilgrimage Beyond the Sea (1833-34), Hyperion (1839), Poems on Slavery (1842), a drama The Spanish Student (1843), Evangeline (1847), Kavanagh and The Seaside and the Fireside (1849), The Courtship of Miles Standish (1858), Tales of a Wayside Inn (1863). Among his last collections were The Masque of Pandora (1875) and In the Harbor (1882). He also wrote a translation of Dante (1865-6) and a trilogy Christus (1872) which incorporated an earlier work The Golden Legend.


The Quadroon Girl
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Slaver in the broad lagoon
Lay moored with idle sail;
He waited for the rising moon,
And for the evening gale.

Under the shore his boat was tied,
And all her listless crew
Watched the grey alligator slide
Into the still bayou.

Odours of oranfe-flowers, and spice,
Reached them from time to time,
Like airs thet breathe from Paradise
Upon a world of crime.

The Planter, under his roof of thatch,
Smoked thoughtfully and slow;
The Slaver's thumb was on the latch,
He seemed in haste to go.

He said "My ship at anchor rides
In yonder broad lagoon;
I only wait the evening tides,
And the rising of the moon."

Before them, with her face upraised,
In timid attitude,
Like one half-curious, half-amazed,
A Quadroon maiden stood.

Her eyes were large, and full of light,
Her arms and neck were bare;
No garment she wore save a kirtle bright,
And her own long raven hair.

And on her lips there played a smile
As holy, meek, and faint,
As lights in some cathedral aisle
The features of a saint.

"The soil is barren, -the farm is old,"
The thoughtful Planter said:
Then looked upon the Slaver's gold,
And then upon the maid.

His heart within him was at strife
With such accursed gains;
For he knew whose passions gave her life,
Whose blood ran in her veins.

But the voice of Nature was too weak;
He took the glittering gold!
Then pale as death grew the maiden's cheek,
Her hands as icy cold.

The Slaver led her from the door,
He led her by the hand,
To be his slave and paramour
In a strange and distant land!


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