Close Close Previous Poem Next Poem Follow Us on Twitter! Poem of the Day Award Follow Us on Facebook! Follow Us on Twitter! Follow Us on Pinterest! Follow Our Youtube Channel! Follow Our RSS Feed! envelope star quill

Poems About Freedom

Table of Contents


  1. Opportunity by Raymond Garfield Dandridge
  2. No Bondage For Me by William Francis Barnard
  3. The Divine Source of Liberty by Samuel Adams
  4. Law and Liberty by E.J. Cutler
  5. Song of the American Eagle by Anonymous
  6. The Brave at Home by Thomas Buchanan Read
  7. Facts by Raymond Garfield Dandridge
  8. Emancipation by Emily Dickinson
  9. A Book by Emily Dickinson
  10. Peace by Bliss Carman
  11. Liberty by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts
  12. Could I but ride indefinite, by Emily Dickinson
  13. The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus
  14. Country of Freedom by Anonymous
  15. The Message of the Liberty Bell by Mrs. Elvira Robinson
  16. Liberty Bell by J. P. Dunn
  17. The Liberty Bell by E. S. Brooks
  18. Liberty by Anonymous
  19. Fourth of July Ode by James Russell Lowell
  20. Wave, Wave, Wave by Annette Wynne
  21. Flags by Annette Wynne
  22. Arnold von Winkleried by James Montgomery
  23. Scots Wha Hae by Robert Burns
  24. The Defence of the Alamo by Joaquin Miller
  25. The Bell of Freedom by Julia May Williamson

Prison and Captivity

  1. The Prisoner by John Charles McNeill
  2. The Captive Butterfly by Hannah Flagg Gould
  3. The Yellow Bird by Hannah Flagg Gould
  4. The Pine Tree by John Greenleaf Whittier
  5. The Prison and the Angel by Henry Van Dyke
  6. Sympathy by Paul Laurence Dunbar
  7. On Hearing a Bird Singing in a Cage by Peter Burn

Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.

– Thomas Paine
The Crisis
Read aloud to Washington's Continental Army on Dec 23, 1776
  1. Opportunity

    Behold! "The Door of Hope," ajar,
    And Freedom freely beckoning;

    - Raymond Garfield Dandridge
    by Raymond Garfield Dandridge

    The shackles rend, your hands are free,
    You need no longer humb'ly bow
    Beneath the lash of tyranny;
    Go shape the molten metal now.

    Behold! "The Door of Hope," ajar,
    And Freedom freely beckoning;
    She bids you gaze upon a star,
    And veer not from your reckoning!

  2. No Bondage For Me

    by William Francis Barnard

    Chains are not other than chains,
    Though fashioned of gold, I cry;
    Nor is liberty less than a boon,
    Though I have but a cup and a crust.
    Better a bed in the fields,
    And a man's heart, at dawn in the sky,
    Than a luxury great as a king's,
    Where a voice ever utters "Thou must!"

  3. The Divine Source of Liberty

    Portrait of Samuel Adams
    by John Singleton Copley
    by Samuel Adams. Samuel Adams was an American statesman, political philosopher, Founding Father, and second cousin to 2nd President of the United States, John Adams. He helped to shape the principles and foundations of American Government.

    All temporal power is of God,
    And the magistratal, His institution, laud,
    To but advance creaturely happiness aubaud:
    Let us then affirm the Source of Liberty.

    Ever agreeable to the nature and will,
    Of the Supreme and Guardian of all yet still
    Employed for our rights and freedom's thrill:
    Thus proves the only Source of Liberty.

    Though our civil joy is surely expressed
    Through hearth, and home, and church manifest,
    Yet this too shall be a nation's true test:
    To acknowledge the divine Source of Liberty.

  4. Law and Liberty

    God give us Law in Liberty
    And Liberty in Law!

    - E.J. Cutler
    Law and Liberty
    by E. J. Cutler

    O Liberty, thou child of Law,
    God's seal is on thy brow!
    O Law, her Mother first and last,
    God's very self art thou!
    Two flowers alike, yet not alike,
    On the same stem that grow,
    Two friends who cannot live apart,
    Yet seem each other's foe.
    One, the smooth river's mirrored flow
    Which decks the world with green;
    And one, the bank of sturdy rock
    Which hems the river in.
    O Daughter of the timeless Past,
    O Hope the Prophets saw,
    God give us Law in Liberty
    And Liberty in Law!

  5. Song of the American Eagle

    For, dear to me is the revelry
    Of a free and fearless Liberty.

    - Anonymous
    Song of the American Eagle
    by Anonymous

    I build my nest on the mountain's crest,
    Where the wild winds rock my eaglets to rest,
    Where the lightnings flash, and the thunders crash,
    And the roaring torrents foam and dash;
    For my spirit free henceforth shall be
    A type of the sons of Liberty.

    Aloft I fly from my aërie high,
    Through the vaulted dome of the azure sky;
    On a sunbeam bright take my airy flight,
    And float in a flood of liquid light;
    For I love to play in the noontide ray,
    And bask in a blaze from the throne of day.

    Away I spring with a tireless wing,
    On a feathery cloud I poise and swing;
    I dart down the steep where the lightnings leap,
    And the clear blue canopy swiftly sweep;
    For, dear to me is the revelry
    Of a free and fearless Liberty.

    I love the land where the mountains stand,
    Like the watch-towers high of a Patriot band;
    For I may not bide in my glory and pride,
    Though the land be never so fair and wide,
    Where Luxury reigns o'er voluptuous plains,
    And fetters the free-born soul in chains.

    Then give to me in my flights to see
    The land of the pilgrims ever free!
    And I never will rove from the haunts I love
    But watch, from my sentinel-track above,
    Your banner free, o'er land and sea,
    And exult in your glorious Liberty.

    O, guard ye well the land where I dwell,
    Lest to future times the tale I tell,
    When slow expires in smoldering fires
    The goodly heritage of your sires,
    How Freedom's light rose clear and bright
    O'er fair Columbia's beacon-hight,
    Till ye quenched the flame in a starless night.

    Then will I tear from your pennon fair
    The stars ye have set in triumph there;
    My olive-branch on the blast I'll launch,
    The fluttering stripes from the flagstaff wrench,
    And away I'll flee; for I scorn to see
    A craven race in the land of the free!

  6. The Brave at Home

    by Thomas Buchanan Read

    The maid who binds her warrior's sash,
    And, smiling, all her pain dissembles,
    The while beneath the drooping lash,
    One starry tear-drop hangs and trembles;
    Though Heaven alone records the tear,
    And fame shall never know her story,
    Her heart has shed a drop as dear
    As ever dewed the field of glory!

    The wife who girds her husband's sword,
    'Mid little ones who weep and wonder,
    And bravely speaks the cheering word,
    What though her heart be rent asunder;—
    Doomed nightly in her dreams to hear
    The bolts of war around him rattle,—
    Has shed as sacred blood as e'er
    Was poured upon the field of battle!

    The mother who conceals her grief,
    While to her breast her son she presses,
    Then breathes a few brave words and brief,
    Kissing the patriot brow she blesses;
    With no one but her loving God,
    To know the pain that weighs upon her,
    Sheds holy blood as e'er the sod
    Received on Freedom's field of honor!

  7. Facts

    Democracy means more than empty letters,
    And Liberty far more than partly free;
    Yet, both are void as long as men, in fetters,
    Are at eclipse with Opportunity.

    - Raymond Garfield Dandridge
    by Raymond Garfield Dandridge

    Triumphant Sable Heroes homeward turning,
    Arrayed in medals, bright, and half-healed scars,
    Has service, life, and limb been given earning
    Trophies, issued at the hand of Mars?

    If your sole gain has been these "marks of battle,"
    If valient deeds insure no greater claim,
    If you are still to be the herder's cattle,
    Then ill spilt blood fell short of Freedom's aim.

    Democracy means more than empty letters,
    And Liberty far more than partly free;
    Yet, both are void as long as men, in fetters,
    Are at eclipse with Opportunity.

  8. Emancipation

    by Emily Dickinson

    No rack can torture me,
    My soul's at liberty
    Behind this mortal bone
    There knits a bolder one

    You cannot prick with saw,
    Nor rend with scymitar.
    Two bodies therefore be;
    Bind one, and one will flee.

    The eagle of his nest
    No easier divest
    And gain the sky,
    Than mayest thou,

    Except thyself may be
    Thine enemy;
    Captivity is consciousness,
    So's liberty.

  9. A Book

    He danced along the dingy days,
    And this bequest of wings
    Was but a book. What liberty
    A loosened spirit brings!

    - Emily Dickinson
    A Book
    by Emily Dickinson

    He ate and drank the precious words,
    His spirit grew robust;
    He knew no more that he was poor,
    Nor that his frame was dust.
    He danced along the dingy days,
    And this bequest of wings
    Was but a book. What liberty
    A loosened spirit brings!

  10. Peace

    "Who gives his heart to love,
    And holding truth for guide,
    Girds him with fearless strength,
    That freedom may abide."

    - Bliss Carman
    by Bliss Carman

    The sleeping tarn is dark
    Below the wooded hill.
    Save for its homing sounds,
    The twilit world grows still.

    And I am left to muse
    In grave-eyed mystery,
    And watch the stars come out
    As sandalled dusk goes by.

    And now the light is gone,
    The drowsy murmurs cease,
    And through the still unknown
    I wonder whence comes peace.

    Then softly falls the word
    Of one beyond a name,
    "Peace only comes to him
    Who guards his life from shame, —

    "Who gives his heart to love,
    And holding truth for guide,
    Girds him with fearless strength,
    That freedom may abide."

  11. Liberty

    One love alone is mine, my love is Liberty.

    - Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts
    by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

    A child, I set the thirsting of my mouth
    To the gold chalices of loves that craze.
    Surely, alas, I have found therein but drouth,
    Surely has sorrow darkened o'er my days.
    While worldlings chase each other madly round
    Their giddy track of frivolous gayety,
    Dreamer, my dream earth's utmost longings bound:
    One love alone is mine, my love is Liberty.

    I have sung them all;—youth's lightsomeness that fleets,
    Pure friendship, my most fondly cherished dreams,
    Wild blossoms and the winds that steal their sweets,
    Wood odors, and the star that whitely gleams.
    But our hearts change; the spirit dulls its edge
    In the chill contact with reality;
    These vanished like the foam-bells on the sedge:
    I sing one burden now, my song is Liberty.

    I drench my spirit in ecstasy, consoled,
    And my gaze trembles toward the azure arc,
    When in the wide world-records I behold
    Flame like a meteor God's finger thro' the dark
    But if, at times, bowed over the abyss
    Wherein man crawls toward immortality,—
    Beholding here how sore his suffering is,
    I make my prayer with tears, it is for Liberty.

  12. Could I but ride indefinite,

    by Emily Dickinson

    Could I but ride indefinite,
    As doth the meadow-bee,
    And visit only where I liked,
    And no man visit me,

    And flirt all day with buttercups,
    And marry whom I may,
    And dwell a little everywhere,
    Or better, run away

    With no police to follow,
    Or chase me if I do,
    Till I should jump peninsulas
    To get away from you, —

    I said, but just to be a bee
    Upon a raft of air,
    And row in nowhere all day long,
    And anchor off the bar,—
    What liberty! So captives deem
    Who tight in dungeons are.

  13. The New Colossus

    Unveiling the Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World
    by Edward Moran, 1886
    Written by Emma Lazarus in 1883 to raise funds for the Statue of Liberty (completed in 1886), the poem was later engraved on the lower pedastal of the statue in 1903. The statue written about by Lazarus would become one of the most famous symbols of freedom in America, especially significant to immigrants just arriving at New York Harbor and beholding this "land of the free" for the first time.

    Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
    With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
    Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
    A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
    Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
    Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
    Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
    The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
    "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
    With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

  14. Country of Freedom

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Country of freedom, be free in thy heart:
    Free from the shackles of prisoning pride,
    Free from the liar's contemptible art,
    Free from allurements that tempt thee aside,
    Free from the crafty and treacherous guide,
    Free from the ravening greed of the mart,
    Free from the snares that in opulence hide,—
    Country of freedom be free in thy heart!

    Country of freedom, find freedom for all:
    Freedom for thinkers' adventurous quest,
    Freedom for greatness to spring from the small,
    Freedom for better to grow to the best,
    Freedom for justice's rigorous test,
    Freedom for progress in hut and in hall,
    Freedom for labor's unwearying zest,—
    Country of freedom, be free for them all!

    Country of freedom, be free for the earth:
    Over the bloody and desperate main,
    Far in the regions of darkness and dearth,
    Challenge the tyrant's unmerciful reign,
    Pierce to the heart of his evil domain,
    Win for thy brothers the lands of their birth,
    Shatter the prison and sever the chain,—
    Country of freedom, be free for the earth!

  15. The Message of the Liberty Bell

    by Mrs. Elvira Robinson

    Around the congress with closed door
    Thousands of anxious people pour
    To wait till all suspense be o'er.

    And still above the bellman waits
    The slow decision of the fates,
    While fears depress and hope elates.

    "Passed, it has passed," at length they cry,
    Ten thousand glad mouths make reply,
    And send the echoes to the sky.

    "Ring! ring!" exclaims the watching boy;
    The bell responds with notes of joy.
    Freedom's proclaim its sweet employ.

    Loud and more loud the proud notes swell,
    The people's shouts responding well,
    All o'er the land the glad news tell.

    From sea to sea, from pole to pole,
    The echoes of that bell shall roll,
    Till freedom comes to every soul.

  16. Liberty Bell

    by J. P. Dunn

    Ring on, ring on sweet Liberty Bell
    For peace on earth, good will to men.
    A story true, ye kindly tell,
    From Bunker Hill down to Argonne.

    Ring on, ring on sweet Liberty Bell
    In every clime where freedom dwells
    Your sweetest strains and imparting knells
    On New Year's eve was heard again.

    Ring on, ring on sweet Liberty Bell
    Peal after peal, your music swell
    Beneath the blue the white and red
    That waves so proudly today o'er the living
    And so sacredly o'er the dead.

  17. The Liberty Bell

    by E. S. Brooks


    Squarely prim and stoutly built,
    Free from glitter and from gilt,
    Plain,—from lintel up to roof-tree and to belfry bare and brown—

    Stands the Hall that hot July,—
    While the folk throng anxious by,—
    Where the Continental Congress meets withinthe Quaker town.

    Hark! a stir, a sudden shout,
    And a boy comes rushing out,
    Signaling to where his grandsire in the belfry, waiting, stands;—

    “Ring!” he cries; “the deed is done!
    Ring! they’ve signed, and freedom’s won!”
    And the ringer grasps the bell-rope with his strong and sturdy hands;

    While the bell, with joyous note
    Clanging from its brazen throat,
    Rings the tidings, all-exultant,—peals the news to shore and sea:

    “Man is man—a slave no longer;
    Truth and Right than Might are stronger,
    Praise to God! We’re free; we’re free!”

  18. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

    – 1 Corinthians 3:17b
  19. Liberty

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Free—free—who are the free?
    Those, O God, who are true to Thee;
    True to the goal of a noble plan,
    True to the need of their fellow man,
    True to the call of the inner soul,
    True to the good of the mighty whole,
    True, O God, to their brothers and Thee,
    These—these—these are the free.

    Where—where—where are the free,
    Where on land or the tossing sea?
    There are they where the need is dire,
    There are they in the battle-fire,
    There are they by the bed of pain,
    There they are dragging the prison chain,
    Where the toll and the triumph be,
    There—there—there are the free.

    How—how—how will the free
    Win the goal of their liberty?
    Ever daring impossible things,
    Ever trusting the spirit's wings,
    Stoutly meeting the deadliest foe,
    Stoutly dealing the final blow,
    Gladly dying for liberty,
    Free—free—these are the free.

    "For Freedom outlives the old crowns of the earth,
    And Freedom shall triumph forever,
    And Time must long wait the true song of his birth
    Who sleeps by the beautiful river."

    – Hezekiah Butterworth
    Washington's Birthday
  20. There is no Frigate like a Book

    by Emily Dickinson

    There is no frigate like a book
    To take us lands away,
    Nor any coursers like a page
    Of prancing poetry.
    This traverse may the poorest take
    Without oppress of toll;
    How frugal is the chariot
    That bears a human soul!

  21. Fourth of July Ode

    by James Russell Lowell

    Our fathers fought for Liberty,
    They struggled long and well,
    History of their deeds can tell—
    But did they leave us free?

    Are we free from vanity,
    Free from pride, and free from self,
    Free from love of power and pelf,
    From everything that's beggarly?

    Are we free from stubborn will,
    From low hate and malice small,
    From opinion's tyrant thrall?
    Are none of us our own slaves still?

    Are we free to speak our thought,
    To be happy, and be poor,
    Free to enter Heaven's door,
    To live and labor as we ought?

    Are we then made free at last
    From the fear of what men say,
    Free to reverence today,
    Free from the slavery of the Past?

    Our fathers fought for liberty,
    They struggled long and well,
    History of their deeds can tell—
    But ourselves must set us free.

  22. Wave, Wave, Wave

    by Annette Wynne

    Wave, wave, wave,
    Glad flag of the free,
    While men march and fight and die
    For you and liberty!

  23. Flags

    by Annette Wynne

    Flags of every size
    Float above our land,
    The great big one upon the pole
    And a small one in my hand.

    The large flag speaks for liberty,
    But the little one does, too;
    And it doesn't matter if large or small
    If it's Red and White and Blue.

    And it doesn't matter if large or small,
    The people will understand;
    Whether it waves from the steeple
    Or only from my hand.

  24. Arnold von Winkleried

    Winkelried at Sempach
    Winkelried at Sempach
    by Konrad Grob
    by James Montgomery.

    "Make way for liberty!" he cried,
    Make way for liberty, and died.
    In arms the Austrian phalanx stood,
    A living wall, a human wood,—
    A wall, where every conscious stone
    Seemed to its kindred thousands grown.
    A rampart all assaults to bear,
    Till time to dust their frames should wear;
    So still, so dense the Austrians stood,
    A living wall, a human wood.

    Impregnable their front appears,
    All horrent with projected spears.
    Whose polished points before them shine,
    From flank to flank, one brilliant line,
    Bright as the breakers' splendours run
    Along the billows to the sun.

    Opposed to these a hovering band
    Contended for their fatherland;
    Peasants, whose new-found strength had broke
    From manly necks the ignoble yoke,
    And beat their fetters into swords,
    On equal terms to fight their lords;
    And what insurgent rage had gained,
    In many a mortal fray maintained;
    Marshalled, once more, at Freedom's call,
    They came to conquer or to fall,
    Where he who conquered, he who fell,
    Was deemed a dead or living Tell,
    Such virtue had that patriot breathed,
    So to the soil his soul bequeathed,
    That wheresoe'er his arrows flew,
    Heroes in his own likeness grew,
    And warriors sprang from every sod,
    Which his awakening footstep trod.

    And now the work of life and death
    Hung on the passing of a breath;
    The fire of conflict burned within,
    The battle trembled to begin;
    Yet, while the Austrians held their ground,
    Point for attack was nowhere found;
    Where'er the impatient Switzers gazed,
    The unbroken line of lances blazed;
    That line 'twere suicide to meet,
    And perish at their tyrant's feet;
    How could they rest within their graves,
    And leave their homes, the homes of slaves!
    Would not they feel their children tread,
    With clanging chains, above their head?

    It must not be; this day, this hour,
    Annihilates the invader's power;
    All Switzerland is in the field;
    She will not fly,—she cannot yield,—
    She must not fall; her better fate
    Here gives her an immortal date.
    Few were the numbers she could boast,
    But every freeman was a host,
    And felt as 'twere a secret known
    That one should turn the scale alone,
    While each unto himself was he
    On whose sole arm hung victory.

    It did depend on one indeed;
    Behold him,—Arnold Winkelried;
    There sounds not to the trump of fame
    The echo of a nobler name.
    Unmarked he stood amid the throng,
    In rumination deep and long,
    Till you might see, with sudden grace,
    The very thought come o'er his face;
    And, by the motion of his form,
    Anticipate the bursting storm,
    And, by the uplifting of his brow,
    Tell where the bolt would strike, and how.

    But 'twas no sooner thought than done!
    The field was in a moment won;
    "Make way for liberty!" he cried,
    Then ran, with arms extended wide,
    As if his dearest friend to clasp;
    Ten spears he swept within his grasp.
    "Make way for liberty!" he cried.
    Their keen points crossed from side to side;
    He bowed amidst them like a tree,
    And thus made way for liberty.

    Swift to the breach his comrades fly,
    "Make way for liberty!" they cry,
    And through the Austrian phalanx dart,
    As rushed the spears through Arnold's heart.
    While instantaneous as his fall,
    Rout, ruin, panic, seized them all;
    An earthquake could not overthrow
    A city with a surer blow.

    Thus Switzerland again was free;
    Thus Death made way for Liberty!

  25. Give me liberty or give me death!

    – Patrick Henry
    Address at the Second Virginia Convention, March 20, 1775
  26. Scots Wha Hae

    by Robert Burns

    Scots, wha hae wi' Wallace bled,
    Scots, wham Bruce has aften led;
    Welcome to your gory bed,
    Or to victory!

    Now's the day, and now's the hour;
    See the front o' battle lour;
    See approach proud Edward's power—
    Chains and slavery!

    Wha will be a traitor knave?
    Wha can fill a coward's grave!
    Wha sae base as be a slave?
    Let him turn and flee!

    Wha for Scotland's king and law
    Freedom's sword will strongly draw,
    Freeman stand, or freeman fa',
    Let him follow me!

    By oppression's woes and pains!
    By your sons in servile chains!
    We will drain our dearest veins,
    But they shall be free!

    Lay the proud usurpers low!
    Tyrants fall in every foe!
    Liberty's in every blow!—
    Let us do or die!

  27. The Defence of the Alamo

    by Joaquin Miller

    Santa Ana came storming, as a storm might come;
    There was rumble of cannon; there was rattle of blade;
    There was cavalry, infantry, bugle and drum—
    Full seven thousand in pomp and parade.
    The chivalry, flower of Mexico;
    And a gaunt two hundred in the Alamo!

    And thirty lay sick, and some were shot through;
    For the siege had been bitter, and bloody, and long.
    "Surrender, or die!"—"Men, what will you do?"
    And Travis, great Travis, drew sword, quick and strong;
    Drew a line at his feet...."Will you come?
    Will you go?
    I die with my wounded, in the Alamo."

    The Bowie gasped, "Lead me over that line!"
    Then Crockett, one hand to the sick, one hand to his gun,
    Crossed with him; then never a word or a sign
    Till all, sick or well, all, all save but one,
    One man. Then a woman stepped, praying, and slow
    Across; to die at her post in the Alamo.

    Then that one coward fled, in the night, in that night
    When all men silently prayed and thought
    Of home; of to-morrow; of God and the right,
    Till dawn; and with dawn came Travis's cannon-shot,
    In answer to insolent Mexico,
    From the old bell-tower of the Alamo.

    Then came Santa Ana; a crescent of flame!
    Then the red escalade; then the fight hand to hand;
    Such an unequal fight as never had name
    Since the Persian hordes butchered that doomed Spartan band.
    All day—all day and all night; and the morning? so slow,
    Through the battle smoke mantling the Alamo.

    Now silence! Such silence! Two thousand lay dead
    In a crescent outside! And within? Not a breath
    Save the gasp of a woman, with gory gashed head,
    All alone, all alone there, waiting for death;
    And she but a nurse. Yet when shall we know
    Another like this of the Alamo?

    Shout "Victory, victory, victory ho!"
    I say 't is not always to the hosts that win!
    I say that the victory, high or low,
    Is given the hero who grapples with sin,
    Or legion or single; just asking to know
    When duty fronts death in his Alamo.

  28. The Bell of Freedom

    By Julia May Williamson

    Ring, wondrous bell, the solemn peal
    That once rang loud and long!
    Thine is the only speaking tongue
    Of all the gathered throng
    That stood in firmest fearlessness,
    And sealed for weal or woe,
    Another nation's honest birth,
    One hundred years ago.

    Where are they? Solemn is the hush,
    Our one reply can be;
    The dust of years is on their graves
    Who made our country free.
    Yet still across our strengthened land
    The gales of Freedom blow—
    We loved those men who filled her ranks,
    One hundred years ago.

    And in the years that came and fled,
    Since Freedom raised her shield,
    Her arm was strong, her flag waved high,
    On many a battle-field;
    'Tis true sometimes her foes have dragged
    The noble ensign low,
    Forgetting those who fought for her,
    One hundred years ago.

    'Tis true the dust that folds their graves
    Has gathered on some hearts,
    For trait'rous thoughts creep through the door
    Whence honesty departs;
    Yet still in all the years gone by,
    Some hearts have felt the glow
    That fired the land where Freedom led,
    One hundred years ago.

    Then ring, thou mighty bell! and wake
    The long forgotten strain;
    Pour out the deathless Freedom song,
    To fire men's hearts again;
    And down the ages that shall come,
    Still may thy music flow,
    And Freedom reign, whose throne was raised,
    One hundred years ago.

  29. Patrick Henry

    by John Townsend

    A child of nature from his birth,
    And cradled in the storm,
    His country knew his sterling worth
    In days of dread alarm.

    The first to strike the spark of war,
    The first to break the charm,
    And like the son of Hamilcar,
    The first to breast the storm.

    When Britain poured her minions forth
    In myriads o'er the flood,
    True as the needle to the north,
    Firm as a rock he stood.

    His powerful eloquence was heard
    Upon the council floor,
    Nor sword, nor death, nor gibbet feared,
    But dared the lion's roar.

    Nor did he falter on the way
    Until the work was done,—
    The tyrant owned His powerful sway,
    And trembled on his throne.

    His eloquence possessed a charm
    To change the heart of stone,
    All opposition to disarm,
    And force of reason own.

    Ye patriots, where's that spirit now,
    That braved the fire and flood?
    In Preston's eye a spark doth glow,
    And for his country's good.

  30. Prison and Captivity

  31. The Prisoner

    by John Charles McNeill

    From pacing, pacing without hope or quest
    He leaned against his window-bars to rest
    And smelt the breeze that crept up from the west.

    It came with sundown noises from the moors,
    Of milking time and loud-voiced rural chores,
    Of lumbering wagons and of closing doors.

    He caught a whiff of furrowed upland sweet,
    And certain scents stole up across the street
    That told him fireflies winked among the wheat.

    Over the dusk hill woke a new moon's light,
    Shadowed the woods and made the waters white,
    And watched above the quiet tents of night.

    Alas, that the old Mother should not know
    How ached his heart to be entreated so,
    Who heard her calling and who could not go!

  32. The Captive Butterfly

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    Good morning, pretty Butterfly!
    How have you passed the night?
    I hope you're gay and glad as I
    To see the morning light.

    But, little silent one, methinks
    You're in a sober mood.
    I wonder if you'd like to drink,
    And what you take for food.

    I shut you in my crystal cup
    To let your winglets rest.
    And now I want to hold you up,
    To see your velvet vest.

    I want to count your tiny toes,
    To find your breathing-place,
    And touch the downy horn that grows
    Each side your pretty face.

    I'd like to see just how you're made,
    With streaks and spots and rings;
    And wish you'd show me how you played
    Your shining, rainbow wings.

    ''T was not,' the little prisoner said,
    'For want of food or drink,
    That, while you slumbered on your bed,
    I could not sleep a wink.

    'My wings are pained for want of flight,
    My lungs, for want of air.
    In bitterness I've passed the night,
    And meet the morning's glare.

    'When looking through my prison wall,
    So close and yet so clear,
    I see there's freedom there for all,
    While I'm a captive here.

    'I've stood upon my feeble feet
    Until they're full of pain.
    I know that liberty is sweet,
    Which I cannot regain.

    'Do I deserve a fate like this,
    Who've ever acted well,
    Since first I left the chrysalis,
    And fluttered from my shell?

    'I've never injured fruit, or flower,
    Or man, or bird, or beast;
    And such a one should have the power
    Of going free, at least.

    'And now, if you will let me quit
    My prison-house, the cup,
    I'll show you how I sport and flit,
    And make my wings go up!'

    The lid was raised; the prisoner said,
    'Behold my airy play!'
    Then quickly on the wing he fled
    Away, away, away!

    From flower to flower he gaily flew,
    To cool his aching feet
    And slake his thirst with morning dew,
    Where liberty was sweet.

  33. The Yellow Bird

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    They've caught my little brother,
    And he was to me a twin!
    They stole him from our mother,
    And the cage has shut him in!

    I flitted by and found him,
    Where he looked so sad and sick,
    With the gloomy wires around him,
    As he crouched upon a stick.

    And, when I tried to cheer him
    With the cherry in my bill,
    To see me there so near him,
    Oh! it made him sadder still.

    His tender eye was shining
    With the brightness of despair,
    With sorrow and repining,
    As he bade me have a care!

    He said they'd come and take me,
    As they'd taken him; and then,
    A hopeless prisoner make me,
    In the fearful hands of men:—

    That once in their dominion,
    I should have to pine away,
    And never stretch a pinion
    To my very dying day:—

    That the wings that God had made him
    For freedom in the air,
    Since than had thus betrayed him,
    Were stiff and useless there.

    And, the little darling fellow,
    As he showed his golden vest,
    He said beneath the yellow,
    He'd a sad and aching breast:—

    That since he'd been among them,
    They had ruffled it so much,
    The only song he'd sung them,
    Was a shriek beneath their touch.

    How can they love to see him
    So sickly and so sad,
    When, if they would but free him,
    He'd be so well and glad?

    My little hapless brother!
    I would fain his bondage share,
    I never had another,
    And he's a captive there!

  34. The Pine Tree

    by John Greenleaf Whittier

    Lift again the stately emblem on the Bay State's rusted shield,
    Give to Northern winds the Pine-Tree on our banner's tattered field.
    Sons of men who sat in council with their Bibles round the board,
    Answering England's royal missive with a firm, "Thus saith the Lord!"
    Rise again for home and freedom!—set the battle in array!—
    What the fathers did of old time we their sons must do to-day.

    Tell us not of banks and tariffs,—cease your paltry pedler cries;—
    Shall the good State sink her honor that your gambling stocks may rise?
    Would ye barter man for cotton?—That your gains may sum up higher,
    Must we kiss the feet of Moloch, pass our children through the fire?
    Is the dollar only real? God and truth and right a dream?
    Weighed against your lying ledgers must our manhood kick the beam?

    O my God!—for that free spirit, which of old in Boston town
    Smote the Province House with terror, struck the crest of Andros down!—
    For another strong-voiced Adams in the city's streets to cry,
    "Up for God and Massachusetts!—Set your feet on Mammon's lie!
    Perish banks and perish traffic,—spin your cotton's latest pound,—
    But in Heaven's name keep your honor, keep the heart o' the Bay State sound!"

    Where's the MAN for Massachusetts?—Where's the voice to speak her free?—
    Where's the hand to light up bonfires from her mountains to the sea?
    Beats her Pilgrim pulse no longer?—Sits she dumb in her despair?—
    Has she none to break the silence?—Has she none to do and dare?
    O my God! for one right worthy to lift up her rushed shield,
    And to plant again the Pine-Tree in her banner's tattered field!

  35. The Prison and the Angel

    by Henry Van Dyke

    Self is the only prison that can ever bind the soul;
    Love is the only angel who can bid the gates unroll;
    And when he comes to call thee, arise and follow fast;
    His way may lie through darkness, but it leads to light at last.

  36. Sympathy

    by Paul Laurence Dunbar

    I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
    When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
    When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass, And the river flows like a stream of glass;
    When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
    And the faint perfume from its chalice steals—
    I know what the caged bird feels!

    I know why the caged bird beats his wing
    Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
    For he must fly back to his perch and cling
    When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;
    And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
    And they pulse again with a keener sting—
    I know why he beats his wing!

    I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
    When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,—
    When he beats his bars and he would be free;
    It is not a carol of joy or glee,
    But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,
    But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings—
    I know why the caged bird sings!

  37. On Hearing a Bird Singing in a Cage

    by Peter Burn

    Poor little thing, how can'st thou sing,
    Confin'd within the cage,
    Whilst other birds on bush and tree,
    In happy sport engage?
    Is it because thy home looks bright,
    That thou cans't sing with heart so light?
    Is it because thy master's kind,
    That thou dost such contentment find?
    Poor little thing, I pity thee—
    'Tis poor redress for Liberty?

    Perhaps, poor bird, thou'st never heard
    The music of the leaves,
    Nor felt the zephyr's soothing breath,
    On balmy summer eves;
    This may have been a liberal home,
    And thus have checked the wish to roam;
    With food and water always nigh,
    Content to live, content to die;
    Yet still, poor bird, I pity thee,
    Thou hast not tasted Liberty.

    Yet I confess in great distress,
    Man oft resembles thee—
    He rests within earth's gaudy cage,
    Whilst other souls are free;
    The present world is all to him,
    Beyond his prison all is dim,
    Bound—strongly bound by nature's chains,
    His spirit never freedom gains;—
    Oh, how delighted he would be,
    Could he but taste Christ's Liberty.

Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

– Thomas Paine
The Crisis

Follow Us On: