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A Fragment: For The Signal Of Liberty

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It was at twilight's meditative hour, that I sauntered out to enjoy a moment in reflection. And to this end I directed my steps towards a grave yard, but a short distance from my dwelling. Ah! thought I, here we may learn a very important and instructive lesson, viz our own mortality. Here we can converse with both worlds. The future, although a blank beyond which is taught in the volume of inspiration - yet there is a sufficient incentive, one would suppose, to prepare for the decisive day, when the book shall be opened, and we judged according to what is therein contained, "whether we have done good unto the resurrection of life - or evil unto the resurrection of damnation." - Here lies, without distinction, the high and low, the rich and poor, the hoary-headed sire who has passed his three score years and ten, and the smiling infant who just drew the vital breath and then expired. Here we behold our future destiny mirrored forth in large and legible characters, too plain to be misunderstood; for mortality is inscribed upon every thing of an earthly nature. Then why cling we to earth with such fond tenacity, and hold the world with such an unyielding grasp, when death is the gate to introduce us to the portals of endless bliss? O! who would live always, away from his God? Away from bright Heaven - blissful abode? Where the rivers of pleasure flow o'er the bright plain, and the noon-tide of glory eternally reigns. Oh, how many immortal beings, who are now writhing under the galling yoke of oppression, would gladly exchange a life of servitude, for a quiet resting place in such a sequestered spot as this.

They would ask no "marble bust or storied urn" to tell of their wrongs and sufferings - but simply the feathered songsters to warble a requiem o'er their sleeping ashes. It cannot be supposed that their minds, narrowed down to earth by their base oppressions, and scarcely a ray of light other than the dim taper of nature, can stretch the soaring pinions of thought and bask here, in future anticipation of immortality, beyond this vale of sorrow and sighing. Judging from the past, their future prospect is desolate and dreary. They have nothing to effect but a life of toil, degradation and misery. No wonder, then, they sigh for a resting place on which to repose their weary limbs. But what an aspect has the grave to their tyrannical masters! Ah! appalling beyond description! Could the silent chamber speak, and the midnight hour tell ts tale of awful forebodings, when conscience is speaking in, its thunder tones - bidding memory do its office work, in calling to mind the many stripes inflicted - the many orphans made - the separation of husbands and wives - the manacles - the clanking chains - the blood extorting whip, and the very ground itself drenched in human gore! - all, all call for vengeance on his devoted head. "Oh! my soul! come not thou into their secret; neither let thine honor with theirs be united."

Ann Arbor, April 1841