Break Chains

TRUE FREEDOM! A Poem by James Russell Lowell 1819-1891

Freedom-in-Chains

Men whose boast it is that we
Come of fathers brave and free,
If there breathe on earth a slave,
Are ye truly free and brave?
If ye do not feel the chain
When it works a brother’s pain,
Are ye not base slaves indeed,—
Slaves unworthy to be freed?

If ye hear without a blush
Deeds to make the roused blood rush
Like red lava through your veins
For your sisters now in chains,
Answer,— are ye fit to be
Mothers of the brave and free?

Is true freedom but to break
Fetters for our own dear sake,
And with leathern heart forget
That we owe mankind a debt?
No! true freedom is to share
All the chains our brothers wear,
And with heart and hand to be
Earnest to make others free.

They are slaves who fear to speak
For the fallen and the weak?
They are slaves who will not choose
Hatred, scorning, and abuse,
Rather than in silence shrink
From the truth they needs must think;
They are slaves who dare not be
In the right with two or three.

See also:
SCORN TO BE SLAVES by Dr. Joseph Warren 1741-1775
NO SLAVE BENEATH THE FLAG by George Lansing Taylor 1835-1903
Corruption In Politics and Society: Corrupters Of America! by John Hancock 1770
THE FLOWER OF LIBERTY by Oliver Wendell Holmes 1841-1935
THE GREAT AMERICAN REPUBLIC A CHRISTIAN STATE by Cardinal James Gibbons 1834-1921