Disclaimer: This poem contains highly racist and undesirable views. It is included on this site for documentation purposes only. These views do not represent the views of Pulp University.
Here is a summary of key details about the poem De Triumpho Naturae: The Triumph of Nature over Northern Ignorance by H.P. Lovecraft:
- It was written by H.P. Lovecraft in July 1905.
- The poem was handwritten in pencil with corrections made in ink.
- The poem was dedicated to William Benjamin Smith, who was a professor at Tulane University in Louisiana at the time.
- It was written when Lovecraft was about 15 years old.
The poem depicts a Northern abolitionist who, inflamed by false zeal, fought to free the “Afric race” from slavery. He saw blacks as his brothers and peers and shed tears over their bondage, distorting the Bible to justify freeing them.
After four years battling the South in the Civil War, the Northerner granted blacks their “fatal liberty” against nature and God’s decree. Former halls of Southern justice were desecrated by “horrid negro rites” as freed blacks sat grinning, aware of their state.
But Nature’s will cannot be thwarted. The “savage black” beast will be driven to lingering death, their numbers dwindling, by the act of a distant Heaven. The Yankee, by freeing slaves against God’s will, has consigned them to their graves.
The poem expresses racist views of blacks as subhuman beasts of burden meant to serve whites. Their liberation is depicted as unnatural folly doomed by nature and divine will. Lovecraft sees their emancipation as an act of hubris leading to demise.
The Triumph of Nature over Northern Ignorance
Lines Dedicated to William Benjamin Smith, Tulane University, La. Author of “The Colour Line” a Brief in Behalf of the Unborn.
The Northern bigot, with false zeal inflam’d,
The virtues of the Afric race proclaim’d;
Declar’d the blacks his brothers and his peers,
And at their slav’ry shed fraternal tears;
Distorted for his cause the Holy Word,
And deem’d himself commanded by the Lord
To draw his sword, whate’er the cost might be,
And set the sons of Aethiopia free.
First with the South in battle he engag’d;
And four hard years an impious warfare wag’d,
Then, deaf to Nature, and to God’s decree,
He gave the blacks their fatal liberty.
The halls where Southern justice once had reign’d
He now with horrid negro rites profan’d.
Among the free in cursèd mock’ry sate
The grinning Aethiop, conscious of his state.
But reckless folly can no further run;
The will of Nature must in Time be done.
The savage black, the ape-resembling beast,
Hath held too long his Saturnalian feast.
From out the land, by act of far’way Heav’n,
To ling’ring death his numbers shall be driv’n.
Against God’s will the Yankee freed the slave
And in the act consign’d him to the grave.