Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Africa: Vol. XXIV. 1876–79.

Introductory to Africa


By James Montgomery (1771–1854)

(From The West Indies)

IS not the negro blest? His generous soil

With harvest-plenty crowns his simple toil;

More than his wants his flocks and fields afford:

He loves to greet the stranger at his board:

“The winds were roaring, and the white man fled,

The rains of night descended on his head;

The poor white man sat down beneath our tree,

Weary and faint, and far from home was he:

For him no mother fills with milk the bowl,

No wife prepares the bread to cheer his soul;—

Pity the poor white man who sought our tree,

No wife, no mother, and no home, has he.”

Thus sang the negro’s daughters; once again,

O that the poor white man might hear that strain!

Whether the victim of the treacherous Moor,

Or from the negro’s hospitable door

Spurned as a spy from Europe’s hateful clime,

And left to perish for thy country’s crime;

Or destined still, when all thy wanderings cease,

On Albion’s lovely lap to rest in peace;

Pilgrim! in heaven or earth, where’er thou be,

Angels of mercy guide and comfort thee!