Verse > Anthologies > James and Mary Ford, eds. > Every Day in the Year
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James and Mary Ford, eds.  Every Day in the Year.  1902.
 
April 27
To Toussaint l’Ouverture
By William Wordsworth (1770–1850)
 
          Toussaint l’Ouverture was a Haitian slave and revolutionist. During the troubles in Hayti in 1791 he took a prominent part in affairs, and after a varied career he became undisputed master of the island. He was finally subdued by a force sent by Napoleon, and taken to France, where he died in imprisonment a year later, on April 27, 1803.

TOUSSAINT, the most unhappy man of men!
Whether the whistling rustic tend his plough
Within thy hearing, or thy head be now
Pillowed in some deep dungeon’s earless den—
O miserable chieftain! where and when        5
Wilt thou find patience? Yet die not; do thou
Wear rather in thy bonds a cheerful brow.
Though fallen thyself, never to rise again,
Live and take comfort. Thou hast left behind
Powers that will work for thee—air, earth, and skies.        10
There’s not a breathing of the common wind
That will forget thee. Thou hast great allies;
Thy friends are exultations, agonies,
And love, and man’s unconquerable mind.
 
 
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