On to Freedom by Duganne

This poem should be delivered with bold energy, with flashing eye, swelling breast, and free action—as though the speaker's heart was full of the nobility of the theme:

"There has been the cry—'On to Richmond!' And still another cry—On to England!' Better than either is the cry—'On to Freedom!'"

Charles Sumner.


ON to Freedom! On to Freedom!

'Tis the everlasting cry

Of the floods that strive with ocean—

Of the storms that smite the sky;

Of the atoms in the whirlwind,

Of the seed beneath the ground—

Of each living thing in Nature

That is bound!

'Twas the cry that led from Egypt,

Through the desert wilds of Edom:

 

Out of darkness—out of bondage—

On to Freedom! On to Freedom!

O! thou stony-hearted Pharaoh!

Vainly warrest thou with God!

Moveless, at thy palace portals,

Moses waits, with lifted rod!

O! thou poor barbarian, Xerxes!

Vainly o'er the Pontic main

Flingest thou, to curb its utterance,

Scourge or chain!

For, the cry that led from Egypt,

Over desert wilds of Edom,

Speaks alike through Greek and Hebrew;

On to Freedom! On to Freedom!

In the Roman streets, with Gracchus,

Hark! I hear that cry outswell;

In the German woods with Hermann,

And on Switzer hills, with Tell;

Up from Spartacus, the Bondman,

When his tyrants yoke he clave,

And from Stalwart Wat the Tyler—

Saxon slave!

Still the old, old cry of Egypt,

Struggling up from wilds of Edom—

Sounding still through all the ages:

On to Freedom! On to Freedom!

On to Freedom! On to Freedom!

Gospel cry of laboring Time:

Uttering still, through seers and sages,

Words of hope and faith sublime!

From our Sidneys, and our Hampdens,

And our Washingtons they come:

And we cannot, and we dare not

Make them dumb!

Out of all the shames of Egypt—

Out of all the snares of Edom;

Out of darkness—out of bondage—

On to Freedom! On to Freedom!