150. All Whose Boast It Is

1 All whose boast it is that we
come of forebears brave and free,
if there breathe on earth a slave,
are we truly free and brave?
If we do not feel the chain
when it works another’s pain,
are we not base slaves indeed,
slaves unwilling to be freed?

2 Is true freedom but to break
fetters for our own dear sake,
and with leathern hearts forget
we owe humankind a debt?
No, true freedom is to share
all the chains that others wear,
and, with heart and hand, to be
earnest to make others free.

3 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: All whose boast it is that we
Title: All Whose Boast It Is
Author: James Russell Lowell, 1819-1891 (alt.)
Language: English
Publication Date: 1993
Topic: Words and Deeds of Prophetic Women and Men: Freedom; Justice and Equity; Right of Conscience
Tune Information
Composer: Jacob Hintze, 1622-1702
Harmonizer: J. S. Bach, 1685-1750
Key: D Major

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