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Scholarly Editing

The Annual of the Association for Documentary Editing

2013, Volume 34

"Will not these days be by thy poets sung": Poems of the Anglo-African and National Anti-Slavery Standard, 1863–1864

Edited by Elizabeth Lorang and R. J. Weir
page 1 page 2 page 3 page 4
Complete Issue: The Anglo-African (27 February 1864)
William E. Pabor,  "'When the Prince Is Passing By.'"  The Anglo-African (27 February 1864): [1]View Poem Image
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In Corea, when the Prince passes by with step of state, All the people shut their doors, and their windows closely
And woe betide the laggard who is caught without the
When the Prince is passing by, under sun or under star!
Partly fear and partly hate prompts them thus to hide
When the Prince is passing by, so that silence reigns su-
As in cities in the sea, visible at close of day, Or in the enchanted hall, in the poet's princely dream.
But it matters little now, save to illustrate the lay, And contrast it with this hour, when another Prince goes
When Emancipation rides through his broad domains
And we do not close the doors or the windows from his eye.
But we open wide each gate, and from every outpost fling To the breeze his stainless flag, fearing not to stand and see How the shadows backward leap, and the sunbeams for-
And the Nation's pulse is quickened by the President's
And the Prince is passing by! Waited for—expected long— Prayed for by the slave in chains—on the block and at the
Patient-hearted under wrong—suffering, yet growing
Looking forward to the day when he should their shackles
How they throng the path he takes; how they follow in
     his tread!
How the very infants spring in their mothers' arms to-day! What blessings are invoked, as he bows his stately head, And smiles upon the Freedmen as he passes on his way.
Are there any bolted doors? Are there any windows
Be sure no child of freedom calls that his home and hearth; The viper's head is hidden, for the victim has escaped From the land of sin and shame that has darkened all the
And the Prince is passing by! Send your shouts of wel-
Never heed the Corean law,[3] in this later, brighter day; Now the freedmen of the South are as freemen in the
And Slavery's doom is sealed, and the Curse has passed


  1. "When the Prince Is Passing By" also appeared in the National Anti-Slavery Standard of February 20, 1864. The Anglo-African and Standard texts are virtually identical, with the exception of the note "Written for the Anti-Slavery Standard," which appeared only in the latter.Go back
  2. President Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865) issued his final Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. In it, he declared that "all persons held as slaves" in rebel states "are, and henceforward shall be free"; he also pledged that "the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof" would "recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons" (Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln [New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953], 6:29–30). Although the proclamation did not touch slavery in loyal border states and exempted Union-occupied regions of Louisiana and Virginia as well as Tennessee, abolitionists recognized and celebrated it as a great step forward.Go back
  3. The "Corean law" to which Pabor here refers has not been identified.Go back
  4. William Edgar Pabor (1834–1911), wartime postmaster of Harlem, New York (New York Tribune, April 1, 1861, [8]). In the 1850s and 1860s his poems were published in Godey's Lady's Book, Graham's American Monthly Magazine, and Peterson's Magazine, as well as the National Anti-Slavery Standard. He served as secretary of the Twelfth Ward Republican Association and produced poems and song sheets for Lincoln's presidential campaigns in 1860 and 1864. In 1870 Pabor moved to Colorado, where he helped to establish Greeley, Fort Collins, and Colorado Springs (Faith Barrett and Cristanne Miller, eds. Words for the Hour: A New Anthology of American Civil War Poetry [Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2005], 388).Go back