To the coal black maid
The white man said,
  "You must yield your honor to me,
For I am king
Of everything,
  Ay! king of land and sea!"

Now a beast or a bird mates but with
    its kind,
Yet a man will follow the lust of his

                    The pitiless skies
                    Heard the black girl's cries
                        And men turned an ear of stone.
                    For the good God gave
                    To the king his slave
                        And the world should let them alone.

                    And why should it talk of the white
                        man's sin
                    When the black girl's child has a tawny

                                                The black man said
                                                To the snow white maid:
                                                    "You must yield to my brutal will.
                                                 I am morally blind
                                                 And I hate your kind,
                                                    And I know how to throttle and kill.

                                                "I have no brains, but my sinews are
                                                With the grudge of a hundred years of

                    The white girl's cry
                    Rose wide and high.
                        It hurt the ears of the world;
                    Then blind and stark
                    Out into the dark
                        A blundering soul was hurled.

                    For woman's honor all men will fight
                    And avenge her wrongs--if her skin be

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

The Colored American Magazine  VI(10), October 1903, p. [695]-696.

Back to Poem Index