All Whose Boast It Is


All whose boast it is that we
come from forebearers 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?

Is true freedom but to break
Fetters for our own dear sake .....
And with leathern hearts forget
We owe human kind 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.

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.

James Russell Lowell