Toussaint L'Ouverture

John Greenleaf Whittier

Sleep calmly in thy dungeon-tomb,
Beneath Besancon's alien sky,
Dark Haytieu! for the time shall come—
Yea, even now is nigh—
When, everywhere, thy name shall be
Redeemed from color's infamy;
And men shall learn to speak of thee
As one of earth's great spirits, born
In servitude, and nursed in scorn,
Casting aside the weary weight
And fetters of its low estate,
In that strong majesty of soul
Which knows no color, time, or clime,—
Which still hath spurned the base control
Of tyrants through all time!
Far other hands than mine may wreathe
The laurel round thy brow of death,
And speak thy praise, as one whose word
A thousand fiery spirits stirred,—
Who crushed his foeman as a worm,—
Whose step on human hearts fell firm;—
Be mine the better task to find
A tribute for thy lofty mind,
Amidst whose gloomy vengeance shone
Some milder virtues all thine own,—
Some gleams of feeling pure and warm,
Like sunshine on a sky of storm,—
Proofs that the negro's heart retains
Some nobleness amidst its chains,—
That kindness to the wronged is never
Without its excellent reward,—
Holy to human-kind, and ever
Acceptable to God.