Dialogue Between the Devil and the Southern Minister by Oringe Smith Crary

At night while millions were asleep,
Near Hell I took my station;
And from that dungeon dark and deep
O’er heard this conversation.

Ghost —
Hail Prince of darkness, ever hail;
Adored by each infernal,
I’ve come among your gang to wail,
And taste of death eternal;
To weep and wail in endless pain,
Among your frightful legions,
To gnaw my tongue and clank my chains,
In these infernal regions.

Demon —
Where are you from;
What makes you look so frantic;
Are you from Carolina’s strand,
Just west of the Atlantic?
Are you that man of blood and birth,
Devoid of human feeling,
The man I saw when last on earth,
In human cattle dealing,
Who tore the infant from the breast;
That you might sell its mother
Whose craving mind could never rest,
‘Till you had sold a brother;
Who gave the sacrament to those
Whose chains and handcuffs rattl’d,
Whose backs soon after felt thy blows
More heavy, than thy cattle?

Ghost —
I’m from the South,
And I was there a teacher;
Saw men in chains; with laughing eyes,
I was the slaveman’s preacher.
In tassl’d pulpits gay and fine,
I strove to please the tyrants —
To prove that slavery was divine,
And what the Scriptures warrant.
And when I saw the horrid sight
Of slaves by torture dying,
And told their masters all was right,
I knew that I was lying.
I knew the time would soon roll ’round
When hell would be their portion —
When they in turn in fetters bound
Would plow the fiery ocean.
I knew all this, and who can doubt,
I felt a sad misgiving;
But still you know if I spoke out
That I should lose my living.
They made me fat; they paid me well,
To cry down abolition;
I slept, I died, I woke in Hell —
How alter’d my condition.
I now am in a sea of fire,
Where fury ever rages.
I am a slave and can’t get free,
And must be so for ages.
Yes when the sun and moon shall fade,
And fire the rocks dissever,
I must sink down beneath the shade
And feel God’s wrath for ever

The fiend heard this, and with a yell,
That made his chains to rattle,
Resounding through the vaults of Hell
Like to the raging battle
“Rejoice my friends in chains,” he cries,
“A moment leave your wailing,
And toss vour fettered arms on high,
Our Kingdom is prevailing.”
Peal joined to peal and yell to yell,
Throughout those frightful regions,
In notes that none can raise or swell,
But the infernal legions.
Wave broke on wave with horrid glare
Along the fiery ocean,
And ghosts and demons mingled there,
In tumult and commotion.
”How long,” they cry, “how long shall we
From hope of pardon serv’d.
Sink down and plow the fiery sea?”
The answer was ”forever”.

The Ghost stood trembling all the while,
He saw the scene transpiring,
With soul aghast and visage wild,
All hope was now retiring.
The demon cries on vengeances bent,
“I say in haste retire
And you shall have a nigger sent
To tend and punch the fire.”

From: Crary, Oringe Smith and Crary, George Lucian, Poetical Works of Oringe Smith Crary and George Lucian Crary, 1914, Self Published: New York, pp. 10-12.
(https://archive.org/stream/poeticalworksofo00crar#page/10/mode/2up)

Date: 1837

By: Oringe Smith Crary (1803-1889)

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