To gain these fruits that
have been earned,
To hold these fields that have been won,
Our arms have strained, our backs have burned,
Bent bare beneath a ruthless sun.
That Banner which is now the
Of victory on field and flood—
Remember, its first crimson stripe
Was dyed by Attucks’ willing blood.
And never yet has come the
When that fair flag has been assailed—
For men to do, for men to die,
That have we faltered or have failed.
We’ve helped to bear
it, rent and torn,
Through many a hot-breath’d battle breeze;
Held in our hands, it has been borne
And planted far across the seas.
And never yet—O
Let us, at least, for this be praised—
Has one black, treason-guided hand
Ever against that flag been raised.
Then should we speak but servile
Or shall we hang our heads in shame?
Stand back of new-come foreign hordes,
And fear our heritage to claim?
No! stand erect and without
And for our foes let this suffice—
We’ve bought a rightful sonship here,
And we have more than paid the price.
And yet, my brothers, well
The tethered feet, the pinioned wings,
The spirit bowed beneath the blow,
The heart grown faint from wounds and stings;
The staggering force of brutish
That strikes and leaves us stunned and daezd;
The long, vain waiting through the night
To hear some voice for justice raised.
Full well I know the hour
Sinks dead, and ’round us everywhere
Hangs stifling darkness, and we grope
With hands uplifted in despair.
Courage! Look out, beyond,
The far horizon’s beckoning span!
Faith in your God-known destiny!
We are a part of some great plan.
Because the tongues of Garrison
And Phillips now are cold in death,
Think you their work can be undone?
Or quenched the fires lit by their breath?
Think you that John Brown’s
That Lovejoy was but idly slain?
Or do you think those precious drops
From Lincoln’s heart were shed in vain?
That for which millions prayed
That for which tens of thousands fought,
For which so many freely died,
God cannot let it come to naught.
How would you have us, as
Or sinking ’neath the load we bear?
Our eyes fixed forward on a star?
Or gazing empty at despair?
Rising or falling? Men
With dragging pace or footsteps fleet?
Strong, willing sinews in your wings?
Or tightening chains about your feet?