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Poem by Florence Earle Coates


I was born as free as the silvery light
     ⁠That laughs in a Southern fountain;
Free as the sea-fed bird that nests
     ⁠On a Scandinavian mountain,
Free as the wind that mocks at the sway
     ⁠And pinioning clasp of another,
Yet in the slave they scourged to-day
⁠     I saw and knewmy brother!

Vested in purple I sat apart,
⁠     But the cord that smote him bruised me;
I closed my ears, but the sob that broke
     ⁠From his savage breast accused me;
No phrase of reasoning judgement just
⁠     The plaint of my soul could smother,
A creature vile, abased to the dust,
⁠     I knew him stillmy brother.

And the autumn day that had smiled so fair
     Seemed suddenly overclouded;
A gloom, more dreadful than Nature owns,
⁠     My human mind enshrouded;
I thought of the power benign that made
     ⁠And bound men one to the other,
And I felt in my brother's fear afraid,
     ⁠And ashamed in the shame of my brother.

Florence Earle Coates

Florence Earle Coates's other poems:
  1. Veiled
  2. Before the Hour
  3. Wouldst Thou Learn?
  4. Sappho
  5. Song (For Me the Jasmine Buds Unfold)

Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • George Herbert Man ("My God, I heard this day")
  • Henry Vaughan Man ("Weighing the steadfastness and state")
  • John Davies Man ("I know my soul hath power to know all things")

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