Twelve Years a Slave

by Solomon Northup

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" Such dupes are men to custom, and so prone 
To reverence what is ancient, and can plead 
A course of long observance for its use, 
That even servitude, the worst of ills, 
Because delivered down from sire to son, 
Is kept and guarded as a sacred thing. 
But is it fit, or can it bear the shock 
Of rational discussion, that a man 
Compounded and made up, like other men, 
Of elements tumultuous, in whom lust 
And folly in as ample measure meet, 
As in the bosom of the slave he rules, 
Should be a despot absolute, and boast 
Himself the only freeman of his land ? " 


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