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John Greenleaf Whittier's "The Hunters of Men"

The following is the complete text of John Greenleaf Whittier's anti-slavery poem "The Hunters of Men." Our presentation of this poem comes from The Complete Poetical Works of John Greenleaf Whittier (1894). The various books, short stories and poems we offer are presented free of charge with absolutely no advertising as a public service from Internet Accuracy Project.


Visit these other John Greenleaf Whittier poems
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"The Angels of Buena Vista"
"Barbara Frietchie"
"The Barefoot Boy"
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"Chapel of the Hermits"
A Collection of his Short Poems
"The Countess"
"The Double-Headed Snake of Newbury"
"Ego"
"From Perugia"
"Funeral Tree of the Sokokis"
"The Garrison of Cape Ann"
"How the Women Went from Dover"
"John Underhill"
"King Volmer and Elsie"
"Lines on a Fly-Leaf"
"Mary Garvin"
"Massachusetts to Virginia"
"Maud Muller"

"The Meeting"
"The Merrimac"
"Miriam"
"The New Wife and the Old"
"The Norsemen"
"Our Master"
"An Outdoor Reception"
"The Peace Convention at Brussels"
"Pennsylvania Hall"
"The Pipes at Lucknow"
"The Preacher"
"The Quaker Alumni"
"Questions of Life"
"Randolph of Roanoke"
"The Singer"
"The Slave Ships"
"A Summer Pilgrimage"
"Sumner"
"The Swan Song of Parson Avery"
"To My Old Schoolmaster"
"Toussaint L'Ouverture"
"The Truce of Piscataqua"

To see all available titles by other authors, drop by our index of free books alphabetized by author or arranged alphabetically by title.

Potential uses for the free books, stories and prose we offer
* Rediscovering an old favorite book, short story or classic anti-slavery poem.
* Bibliophiles expanding their collection of public domain ebooks at no cost.
* Teachers trying to locate a free online copy of a short story or poem for use in the classroom.


NOTE: We try to present these classic literary works as they originally appeared in print. As such, they sometimes contain adult themes, offensive language, typographical errors, and often utilize unconventional, older, obsolete or intentionally incorrect spelling and/or punctuation conventions.


"The Hunters of Men" by John Greenleaf Whittier

THE HUNTERS OF MEN

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER


HAVE ye heard of our hunting, o'er mountain and glen,
Through cane-brake and forest,--the hunting of men?
The lords of our land to this hunting have gone,
As the fox-hunter follows the sound of the horn;
Hark! the cheer and the hallo! the crack of the whip,
And the yell of the hound as he fastens his grip!
All blithe are our hunters, and noble their match,
Though hundreds are caught, there are millions to catch.
So speed to their hunting, o'er mountain and glen,
Through cane-brake and forest,--the hunting of men!

Gay luck to our hunters! how nobly they ride
In the glow of their zeal, and the strength of their pride!
The priest with his cassock flung back on the wind,
Just screening the politic statesman behind;
The saint and the sinner, with cursing and prayer,
The drunk and the sober, ride merrily there.
And woman, kind woman, wife, widow, and maid,
For the good of the hunted, is lending her aid:
Her foot's in the stirrup, her hand on the rein,
How blithely she rides to the hunting of men!

Oh, goodly and grand is our hunting to see,
In this "land of the brave and this home of the free."
Priest, warrior, and statesman, from Georgia to Maine,
All mounting the saddle, all grasping the rein;
Right merrily hunting the black man, whose sin
Is the curl of his hair and the hue of his skin!
Woe, now, to the hunted who turns him at bay!
Will our hunters be turned from their purpose and prey?
Will their hearts fail within them? their nerves tremble, when
All roughly they ride to the hunting of men?

Ho! alms for our hunters! all weary and faint,
Wax the curse of the sinner and prayer of the saint.
The horn is wound faintly, the echoes are still,
Over cane-brake and river, and forest and hill.
Haste, alms for our hunters! the hunted once more
Have turned from their flight with their backs to the shore:
What right have they here in the home of the white,
Shadowed o'er by our banner of Freedom and Right?
Ho! alms for the hunters! or never again
Will they ride in their pomp to the hunting of men!

Alms, alms for our hunters! why will ye delay,
When their pride and their glory are melting away?
The parson has turned; for, on charge of his own,
Who goeth a warfare, or hunting, alone?
The politic statesman looks back with a sigh,
There is doubt in his heart, there is fear in his eye.
Oh, haste, lest that doubting and fear shall prevail,
And the head of his steed take the place of the tail.
Oh, haste, ere he leave us! for who will ride then,
For pleasure or gain, to the hunting of men?



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