Are We Free?
Are we free?
Are we free? go ask the question
In the cells of Lafayette;
Ask it of your chain-girt brothers,
Shut within its parapet:
Ask it of the silent journals
Crushed beneath an iron hand;
Ask it of the mighty armies
Quartered on our groaning land,
To them let the question be,
Friends and Brothers are we free?
Ask it of the helpless women,
Shut within a prison grate;
Ask it of the weeping loved ones,
Mourning o’er their wretched fate!
Ask it of the homes deserted,
And the hearths made desolate,
Ask it of the freemen punished,
Who rebuke fanatic hate!
Speak kindly, lest a taunt they see,
In the question—”Are we free?”
Ask it of a helpless people,
Cringing to a tyrant’s throne;
Ask it of each State enthralled,
And her sons indignant grown.
Ask it of the wreck of freedom,
Torn and strewn on every hand;
Ask it of your State dishonored,
Prostrate, helpless Maryland!
Without a taunt of mockery,
Ask her if We still are free?
I hear the answer from the tower,
In the clank of the rusty chains;
And the press by silence tells us
Still the unchecked despot reigns.
See it in the homes deserted,
And the hearths made desolate;
Hear it from the exiled Freeman,
Fleeing from his native State!
Hear the blushing answer be,
Maryland is no longer free!
Hear it in the wail of females,
From the mouldy dungeon’s gloom,
Hear it in the sobs of children,
Weeping for their mother’s doom.
Hear it in the shrieks of maidens,
Torn from friends and brothers’ care,
Hear it in their screams of terror,
See it in their wild despair!
Answered in their piercing cries,
Seen in tearful pleading eyes!
Hear it in the taunts of cowards,
Who accept dishonor’s stains;
Hear it in the daily clanking
Of our State’s ignoble chains.
And from Freedom’s weeping goddess
Fleeing from her children’s graves,
Comes a mother’s sobbing answer,
Power binds my children—Slaves!
Whilst groans proclaim from hill to sea,
Maryland was—But is not free!