The Black Man’s Lament (1826)

Two years after the publication of The Negro Boy’s Tale, Opie published her second anti-slavery poem for children with Harvey and Darton, The Black Man’s Lament. Designed from its inception for the juvenile market, this volume was heavily illustrated and combined a didactic guide to the operation of a sugar plantation with a plea for the abolition of slavery. Because the plates were hand-coloured, the quality of individual copies varies considerably, but those I have seen show more refinement than the Garland facsimile would suggest, where the quality of the reproduction obscures nearly all facial expression.


The Black Man’s Lament; or How to Make Sugar. London: Harvey and Darton, 1826.

Modern Editions 

The Black Man’s Lament; or How to Make Sugar. 1826. With an introduction by
Donald H. Reiman. New York: Garland Pub., 1978.


Eberle, Roxanne.”‘Tales of Truth?’: Amelia Opie’s Antislavery Poetics.” Romanticism and Women Poets: Opening the Doors of Reception, edited by Harriet Kramer Linkin and Stephen C. Behrendt, UP of Kentucky, 1999, pp.71-98.

Farrant, Ann. “Amelia Opie’s Anti-Slavery Poems for Children.” Children’s Books History Society Newsletter, vol 74, 2002, pp.12-6.