Mattia Vento
(1735 - 1776)

Vento : The Suffering Negro : illustration

The Suffering Negro
(Song)
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The Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade was formed in 1787 and this song, together with Wedgwood's campaigning medallion (see accompanying illustration) belong to the same year. The piece combines an air of theatrical origin (unidentified) with words by a lyricist whose name has subsequently been mislaid.
Lyrics: Anon

Some kindly genius now assist my pen
To soothe the hardships of these wretched men;
To speak the balm of comfort to their breast;
To cherish hope unto the poor distressed.
Long have they laboured under iron bands;
Long have they suffered under tyrants' hands.

Torn from the tenderest ties of friendship hear,
From parents, wife and helpless children dear;
Oh cruel man, that first this spoil did trace
And made a traffic of the human race.
Can blessings e'er attend such deeds as these,
Or such as seek them ever hope for peace?

A gleam of hope holds out her cheering rays;
The wearied yet may look for better days.
Britannia's sons their native feelings plead,
Stretch forth their arms to stay the horrid deed.
Happy the men who helpless sufferers save;
A negro's blessing shall attend their grave.