Frances Ellen Watkins

Here you will find the Long Poem The Deliverance of poet Frances Ellen Watkins

The Deliverance

Master only left old Mistus
One bright and handsome boy;
But she fairly doted on him,
He was her pride and joy.

We all liked Mister Thomas,
He was so kind at heart;
And when the young folkes got in scrapes,
He always took their part.

He kept right on that very way
Till he got big and tall,
And old Mistus used to chide him
And say he'd spile us all.

But somehow the farm did prosper
When he took things in hand;
And though all the servants liked him,
He made them understand.

One evening Mister Thomas said,
'Just bring my easy shoes;
I am going to sit by mother,
And read her up the news.'

Soon I heard him tell old Mistus
We're bound to have a fight;
But we'll whip the Yankees, mother,
We'll whip them sure as night!'

Then I saw old Mistus tremble;
She gasped and held her breath;
And she looked on Mister Thomas
With a face as pale as death.

'They are firing on Fort Sumpter;
Oh! I wish that I was there! -
Why, dear mother! what's the matter?
You're the picture of despair.'

'I was thinking, dearest Thomas,
'Twould break my very heart
If a fierce and dreadful battle
Should tear our lives apart.'

'None but cowards, dearest mother,
Would skulk unto the rear,
When the tyrant's hand is shaking
All the heart is holding dear.'

I felt sorry for old Mistus;
She got too full to speak;
But I saw the great big tear-drops
A running down her cheek.

Mister Thomas too was troubled
With choosing on that night,
Betwixt staying with his mother
And joining in the fight.

Soon down into the village came
A call for volunteers;
Mistus gave up Mister Thomas,
With many sighs and tears.

His uniform was real handsome;
He looked so brave and strong;
But somehow I could'nt help thinking
His fighting must be wrong.

Though the house was very lonesome,
I thought 'twould all come right,
For I felt somehow or other
We was mixed up in that fight.

And I said to Uncle Jacob,
'How old Mistus feels the sting,
For this parting with your children
Is a mighty dreadful thing.'

'Never mind,' said Uncle Jacob,
'Just wait and watch and pray,
For I feel right sure and certain,
Slavery's bound to pass away;

'Because I asked the Spirit,
If God is good and just,
How it happened that the masters
Did grind us to the dust.

'And something reasoned right inside,
Such should not always be;
And you could not beat it out my head,
The Spirit spoke to me.'

And his dear old eyes would brighten,
And his lips put on a smile,
Saying, 'Pick up faith and courage,
And just wait a little while.'

Mistus prayed up in the parlor,
That the Secesh all might win;
We were praying in the cabins,
Wanting freedom to begin.

Mister Thomas wrote to Mistus,
Telling 'bout the Bull's Run fight,
That his troops had whipped the Yankees
And put them all to flight.

Mistus' eyes did fairly glisten;
She laughed and praised the South,
But I thought some day she'd laugh
On tother side her mouth.

I used to watch old Mistus' face,
And when it looked quite long
I would say to Cousin Milly,
The battle's going wrong;

Not for us, but for the Rebels. -
My heart would fairly skip,
When Uncle Jacob used to say,
'The North is bound to whip.'

And let the fight go as it would -
Let North or South prevail -
He always kept his courage up,
And never let it fail.

And he often used to tell us,
'Children, don't forget to pray;
For the darkest time of morning
Is just 'fore the break of day.'

Well, one morning bright and early
We heard the fife and drum,
And the booming of the cannon -
The Yankee troops had come.

When the word ran through the village,
The colored folks are free -
In the kitchens and the cabins
We held a jubilee.

When they told us Mister Lincoln
Said that slavery was dead,
We just poured our prayers and blessings
Upon his precious head.

We just laughed, and danced, and shouted
And prayed, and sang, and cried,
And we thought dear Uncle Jacob
Would fairly crack his side.

But when old Mistus heard it,
She groaned and hardly spoke;
When she had to lose her servants,
Her heart was almost broke.

'Twas a sight to see our people
Going out, the troops to meet,
Almost dancing to the music,
And marching down the street.

After years of pain and parting,
Our chains was broke in two,
And we was so mighty happy,
We didn't know what to do.

But we soon got used to freedom,
Though the way at first was rough;
But we weathered through the tempest,
For slavery made us tough.

But we had one awful sorrow,
It almost turned my head,
When a mean and wicked cretur
Shot Mister L