O Say Not

O say not—that the God of Heav'n,
Of pure and holy will,
A race hath made, and spirits giv'n,
With sense of good and ill,
Yet doom'd them, by his sovereign law,
To bondage worse than Egypt saw!

O say not—that a sable skin
Alone is worthy crime,
For which the whiter, free of sin,
May smother, through all time,
The living fire in ev'ry heart,
Which fain the servile chain would part!

O say not—that, in future years,
There shall not come a day,
When mercy, Afric's slighted tears
Shall kindly wipe away;
And lord and slave, o'er land and sea,
Shall chant the chorus of the free.
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