Thursday, May 05, 2005

A Tribute to a Former Slave Trader

Richard Bailey posts a wonderful hymn found in Amazing Grace: An Anthology of Poems About Slavery, 1660-1810. It’s a tribute to the former slave trader John Newton:

Like Jonah, on the mighty deep,

He strove to fly from God;

But fled, alas! to sin, and weep

Beneath his chast’ning rod.

A wretch upon a wretched shore,

A slave by slaves confin’d,

A doubly galling yoke he bore,

Of body and of mind.

In deep distress, and bitter woe,

Corruption’s rankling smart,

Mysterious Wisdom made him know

His own rebellious heart!

Unconscious of the future sphere

That he was form’d to fill,

With application most severe,

He sought for knowledge still!

Cut off from ev’ry human aid,

On Afric’s burning sand

The depths of science he essay’d,

And mystic Euclid scann’d;

While o’er the liquid way he mov’d,

He studied many a tome;

With Tacitus and Livy rov’d,

To scenes of ancient Rome.

Almighty grace the rebel tam’d;

And deep contrition drew

The wand’ring prodigal, reclaimed,

And form’d his heart anew!

No more on grov’ling themes confin’d,

His ardent spirits soar’d,

With ready gifts and soul refin’d,

To glorify his Lord!