James M. Whitfield's America and Other Poems

  Table of Contents:
Cover Page
"Christmas Hymn"
"Lines on the Death of J. Quincy Adams"
"To Cinque"
"New Year's Hymn"
"To A.H."
"How Long"
"The Arch Apostate"
"The Misanthropist"
"A Hymn"
"Yes! strike again that sounding string"
"To -------"
"Prayer of the Oppressed"
"To S.A.T."
"Delusive Hope"
"To M.E.A."
"A Hymn"
"Ode for the Fourth of July"
"Midnight Musings"
"Ode to Music"
"Stanzas for the First of August"
"The North Star"
(text of all poems)

  The North Star p1
"The North Star"*
close-up 1 | 2

STAR of the north! whose steadfast ray
   Pierces the sable pall of night,
Forever pointing out the way
   That leads to freedomís hallowed light:
The fugitive lifts up his eye
To where thy rays illume the sky.

That steady, calm, unchanging light,
   Through dreary wilds and trackless dells,
Directs his weary steps aright
   To the bright land where freedom dwells;
And spreads, with sympathizing breast,
Her aegis over the oppressed.

Though other stars may round thee burn,
   With larger disk and brighter ray,

The North Star p2 And fiery comets round thee turn,
   While millions mark their blazing way;
And the pale moon and planets bright
Reflect on us their silvery light.

Not like that moon, now dark, now bright,
   In phase and place forever changing;
Or planets with reflected light,
   Or comets through the heavens ranging;
They all seem varying to our view,
While thou art ever fixed and true.

So may that other bright North Star,
   Beaming with truth and freedomís light,
Pierce with its cheering ray afar,
   The shades of slaveryís gloomy night;
And may it never cease to be
The guard of truth and liberty.

**Written for the North Star; a newspaper edited by a fugitive slave. (back)

Introduction Biography Contexts Critical Voices Teaching Approaches Bibliography