The Little Slave’s Wish by Eliza Lee Follen

I wish I was that little bird
Up in the bright blue sky,
That sings and flies just where he will,
And no one asks him why.

I wish I was that little brook
That runs so swift along,
Through pretty flowers, and shining stones,
Singing a merry song.

I wish I was a butterfly,
Without a fear or care,
Spreading my many-colored wings,
Like a flower in the air.

I wish I was that wild, wild deer,
That I saw the other day,
Who through the dark green forest flew,
Like an arrow far away.

I wish I was that little cloud
By the gentle south-wind driven,
Floating along so calm and bright
Up to the gates of heaven.

I’d rather be a savage beast,
And dwell in a gloomy cave,
And shake the forest when I roared,
Than what I am,—a slave.

My mother calls me her good boy,
My father calls me brave;
What wicked action have I done
That I should be a slave?

They tell me God is very good.
That his right arm can save;
O, is it, can it, be his will
That I should be a slave?

O, how much better ’tis to die,
And lie down in the grave,
Than ’tis to be what I am now,—
A little negro slave!

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