Bewildering Stories

A Hundred Fifty-Three Against the Warped Autocracy

Jennifer E. Velasquez

To be, or not to be a slave state: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to allow
California to be admitted as a free state,
Or to take arms against a sea of abolitionists,
And by opposing end them? To argue: to debate;
No more; and, by a solution to end
This superfluous argument over slavery in California
That we have devised, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To argue, to debate;
To debate: 'tis superfluous: ay, there's the rub;
For in that debate of slavery what compromises may come
When we have debated this topic to death,
Will also be superfluous. There's no respect
For that which makes calamity of so unnecessary superfluity;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of freedom,
The Abolitionist's wrong, the Free-Soiler's contumely,
The pangs of the stupidity of those who want freedom.
The insolence of the North, and the spurns
That we, the Southern Rebels, take,
When we ourselves might a quietus make
With a proposition? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary debate,
But that the dread of something like California,
The debated territory from whose land
We can create two states, one a slave state,
And the other... another slave state!
Makes us rather accept this proposition
Than fly to compromises that we know not of?
Thus our solution does make success for us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution will no longer
Be sicklied o'er with the pale stupidity of compromise,
And enterprises of great pith and moment can rise.
With this regard our success results,
And slavery goes on perpetually.

Author's Note

This poem was written for a school assignment many years ago, and the opinions expressed in it certainly do not reflect my views or the views of the editors of Bewildering Stories, who have gone out of their way to accept and publish this. Thanks for all the hard work you've spent on this zine. It's fantastic!

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Copyright 2002 by Jennifer E. Velasquez and Bewildering Stories.