James Somersett

copley
Head of a Negro by James Copley

 

James Somersett

“Granville Sharp the abolitionist and Lord Mansfield of the King’s Bench are well known, but the eponymous defendant is more of a mystery.”
                                                                                                                              – The Sunday Items

He ran from the court
To the door of his champion,
Slaved no more,
And he knocked on the door of his champion
To show he was free –
He ran from the court and he ran from our history.

Did James and Granville then
Shake hands like proper gentlemen ?
Did they embrace, perhaps,
In a quite un-English way ?
We cannot say,
For James is never heard agen.

Did he and Granville,
As they bid goodbye,
Look in one-another’s eye
And share a smile and knowing nod
That seemed to subtly imply
“We’ve started something here, by God !”

Maybe he died that very day,
Or lived another three long score,
Maybe rich, maybe poor –
He went about his way.
The last we see of James
Is at that door.

 

 

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