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529a. Stanzas on Freedom

1. Men! whose boast it is that ye 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?

2, Women! who shall one day bear, sons to breathe New England air,
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?

3. Is true Freedom but to break fetters for our own dear sake,
And, with leathern hearts, 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!

4. They are slaves who fear to speak for the fallen and the weak;
They are slaves who will not choose hatred, scoffing, 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.

Text Information
First Line: Men! whose boast it is that ye
Title: Stanzas on Freedom
Author: James Russell Lowell (1844)
Publication Date: 2009
Topic: Human Rights
Source: A Left-Labour Website
Notes: Note: The second verse is usually omitted from hymnals; to counteract the sexism thus created, recent hymnals have sometimes altered the incipit to an inclusive form.
Tune Information
Composer: Jakob Hintze (1622-1702) (1678)

MIDI file: Salzburg
More media are available on the tune authority page.