The Slave Chase



Title: The Slave Chase, Composed By: Henry Russell, Published By: Oliver Ditson & Co., Location: Boston, Year: 1845

“Set ev’ry stitch of canvas to woo the fresh’ning wind,
Oar bowsprit points to Cuba, the coast lies far behind ;
Fill’d to the hatches full, my boys, across the seas we go,
There’s twice five hundred niggers in the stifling hold below.
A sail ! what say you, boys ? well—let him give us chase !
A British Man-of-War, you say—well, let him try the race,
There’s not two swifter vessels ever floated on the waves,
Than our tidy little Schooners, well ballasted with slaves.”

Now stronger yet, and stronger still, came down the fiery breeze,
And even fast and faster sped the strange ship on the seas ;
Flinging each rude and bursting surge in glitt’ring halos back,
And bearing high to heav’n aloft, the English Union Jack,
” Now curses on that Ensign,” the slaving captain said,
” There’s little luck for slaves when English hunting’s spread.
But pack on sail, and trim, the ship, before we’ll captur’d be,
We’ll have the niggers up, my boys, and heave them in the sea.”

Hoarse was the slaving captain’s voice, and deep the oath he swore,
Haul down the flag, that shot’s enough, we don’t want any more.”
Along side dash’d that cruiser’s boat, to board and seize the prize ;
Hark ! to that rattling British cheer, that’s ringing to the skies,
” Up, up, with the negroes speed’ly, up, up, and give them breath ;
Clear out the hold from stem to stern, that noisome den is death.
And run aloft St. George’s Cross, all wanton let it wave,
The token proud that under it there never treads a slave.”