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Poetry: Our Countrymen In Chains

Poetry: Our Countrymen In Chains image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
Additional Text

Previously published as a popular broadside by the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1837, with the accompanying woodcut illustration "Am I Not a Man and a Brother?" Alternate title: "Expostulation"

OCR Text

Our felloVv countrymen in chains! SlaveB-ia a land of light and law!- Slaves - crouching on the very plains Where rolled the storm of Freedoms war! A groan from Eutaw's haunted wood- A wail where Camden's martyrs feil - By every shrine of patriot blood, From Maultrie's wall and Jasper's well. By storied hill and hallowed grot, By mosay wood and marsby gleD, Whence rang of old the rifle shot, And hurrying shout of Manon's men!- The groan of breaking hearts is there - Thefallinglash- the fetter's clank! Slaves - SUAVES are breathing in that air Which old De Kalb and Sumpter drank! What, ho! - out countryraen in chainei - The whip on woraan's shrmking flesli! Our soil yet reddening with the Biains, Caught frorn her Bcourging, warm and fresb! What! raotbera from their children riven! What.' God'a own image bought and soldí American's to market drive, And bartered as the brute for gold! Speak!- shall their agony of prayer Come thrilling to our hearts in vain? To us - whose fathers scorned o bear The paltry menace of a chain; - To UB whose boast is loud and long Of holy liberty and light - Say, ahall these writhing 6laves of Wrong Plead vainly for their plundered Right] What! shall we eend, with lavish breaih, Our eympathies acrosa the wave, Where manhood on the field of deathStrikes for;bis freedora, or a grave? Shall prayera go up- and hymns be sung For Greece, the Moslem fetters spurning And millions hail witb pen and tongue Our light on all her alters buroing? Shall Belgium feel, and gallant Franco, By Vendome's pile and Schoenbrun's wall And Poland, gaeping on her lance, Tha impulöe of our cheering cali? And shall the slave beneath our eye, Clank o'er our fielda bis hateful chain? And toss his fettered arm on high, And groan for freedom's gift, in vain?Ob say, shall Prussia's banner be A refuge for the etricken slave:- And shall the Rusaian ser f go f rea By Baikal's lake and Neva's wave; - And shall the wintry-bosomed Dana Relax the iron hand of pride, And bid his bondinen cast the cham From fettered soul and lirnb, asidel Shall every flap of England's flag Proclaim that all around is freej From "farthest Ind" lo each blue crag That beetles o'er the Western Sea? And ehall we ecoffat Europe'e kings, When Frecdom's firoisdim withus, And round our country'e alter clinga The damning shade of slavery's curse? Go - let us ask of Constantino To loose his grasp on Poland's throat- And beg the lord of Mahmound's lino To spare tho struggling Suliote. "Will not the scorching answer come Frora turbaned Turk, and fiery Ru6s - Go loose your fettered Blaves at home, Then turn and ask the like of us!" Just God! and shall we calmly rest, The christian'8 scorn ;the heathen's mirlh ; Content to live the lingering jest And byword of a mockingearth? Shall our own gloriouu land retain That curse which Europe scorna to bear? Shall our own brethren drag the chain Which not even Russia's menials wear? Up, then, ia Freedotn's manly part, From gray-beard eld to fiery youth, And on the nation's naked heart Scatter the living coals of Truth. Up- while ye slumber, deeperyet The ahadow of our fame is growing - Up - while ye pau6e, oar sun may eet In blood around our alters flowing! Oh rousaye - ere the storm comes orth - The gathered wrath of God and man - Like thatwhich wasted Egypts earth, When hail and fire above it ran. Hear ye no warnings in the air? Feel ye no earthquake underneathi Up up - wby will ye slumber where The Sleeper only wakes in death1} Up now for Freedom!- not in etnfe Like that your sterner fathers saw; The awful waste of human life - Thegloryand theguilt of war: But break the chain- the yoke remove And emite to earth oppression's rod, With thoBe mild arms of Truth and Loye, Made mighty through the living God! Prone let the shrine of Moloch sink, And leave no traces where ït stood Nor Jonger let its idol drink His daily cup of human blood! But rear another alter there, To truth and love and mercy given, And Freedom's gift, and Freedora's prayen Shall cftll an answer down from Heaven!