In Divers Tones

by Charles G.D. Roberts

Edited by Tracy Ware


 

THE SLAVE WOMAN


 

Shedding cool drops upon the sun-baked clay,
   The dripping jar, brimful, she rests a space
   On the well’s dry white brink, and leans her face,
Heavy with tears and many a heartsick day,
Down to the water’s lip, whence slips away
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   A rivulet thro’ the hot, bright square apace,
   And lo! her brow casts off each servile trace—
The wave’s cool breath hath won her thoughts astray.

Ah, desolate heart! Thy fate thou hast forgot
   One moment; the dull pain hath left those eyes

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      Whose yearning pierces time, and space, and tears.
Thou seest what was once, but now is not,—
   By Niger thy bright home, thy Paradise,
      Unscathed of flame, and foe, and hostile spears.