Division of an Estate


Written Text

It well bespeaks a man beheaded, quite

Divested of the laurel robe of life,

When every member struggles for its base,

The head; the power of order now recedes,

Unheeded efforts rise on every side,

With dull emotion rolling through the brain

Of apprehending slaves. The flocks and herds,

In sad confusion, now run to and fro,

And seem to ask, distressed, the reason why

That they are thus prostrated. Howl, ye dogs!

Ye cattle, low! ye sheep, astonish'd, bleat!

Ye bristling swine, trudge squealing through the glades,

Void of an owner to impart your food!

Sad horses, lift your heads and neigh aloud,

And caper frantic from the dismal scene;

Mow the last food upon your grass-clad lea,

And leave a solitary home behind,

In hopeless widowhood no longer gay!

The trav'ling sun of gain his journey ends

In unavailing pain; he sets with tears;

A king sequester'd sinking from his throne,

Succeeded by a train of busy friends,

Like stars which rise with smiles, to mark the flight

Of awful Phoebus to another world;

Stars after stars in fleet succession rise

Into the wide empire of fortune clear,

Regardless of the donor of their lamps,

Like heirs forgetful of parental care,

Without a grateful smile or filial tear,

Redound in rev'rence to expiring age.

But soon parental benediction flies

Like vivid meteors; in a moment gone,

As though they ne'er had been. But O! the state,

The dark suspense in which poor vassals stand,

Each mind upon the spire of chance hangs fluctuant;

The day of separation is at hand;

Imagination lifts her gloomy curtains,

Like ev'ning's mantle at the flight of day,

Thro' which the trembling pinnacle we spy,

On which we soon must stand with hopeful smiles,

Or apprehending frowns; to tumble on

The right or left forever.

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“Division of an Estate”

By George Moses Horton

Read by Brian Harrison

Directed by Walter Evans

Copyright Georgia Regents University

2011 All rights reserved