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I am a slave! Oh why was I born!
Why was I made for sorrow and scorn!
Everywhere, on the wide earth and sea,
Life is exalted! is godlike! is free!


I am a slave! Oh bitter the sigh
That rendeth me! Ah, where shall I fly!
Crushed with a curse, and deadened with woe,
Vain are my tears, which blind as they flow.


My mistress is beautiful. They sing
Of her virtues; and gay lovers bring
Hearts adoring to lay at her shrine--
Angel they call her, or, being divine!


Fair is her face as the new-fallen snows,
Softer its blush than that of the rose;
E'en her dimples an houri might crave:
Such is my mistress--I am her slave!


She is my mistress! she whom I serve
Unremitting, with spirit and nerve;
I unslipper her delicate feet,
And bathe them lest she languish with heat.


On down she reposes--I, on the floor;
I am a slave! must crave nothing more:
Yet she is my sister--none will deny
I have her features, her dimples, her eye.


My father was her's--her father mine;
I am a slave! but she is divine.
Merciful God!--if mercy thou art--
Sever these chains, or stifle my heart.