One of the first African-American women to be published in the United States, especially for novels (Iola Leroy, 1892), she was also a poet, an abolitionnist and a suffragist. Very popular and ... [+]

It was my sad and weary lot
To toil in slavery;
But one thing cheered my lowly cot—
My husband was with me.

One evening, as our children played
Around our cabin door,
I noticed on his brow a shade
I'd never seen before;

And in his eyes a gloomy night
Of anguish and despair;—
I gazed upon their troubled light,
To read the meaning there.

He strained me to his heaving heart—
My own beat wild with fear;
I knew not, but I sadly felt
There must be evil near.

He vainly strove to cast aside
The tears that fell like rain:—
Too frail, indeed, is manly pride,
To strive with grief and pain.

Again he clasped me to his breast,
And said that we must part:
I tried to speak—but, oh! it seemed
An arrow reached my heart.

"Bear not," I cried, "unto your grave,
The yoke you've borne from birth;
No longer live a helpless slave,
The meanest thing on earth!"