Be Active

Dublin Core


Be Active


Onward, onward, sons of freedom,

In the great and glorious strife

You've a high and holy mission

On the battle field of life.

See oppression's feet of iron

Grind a brother to the ground,

And from bleeding heart and bosm,

Gapeth many a fearful wound.

Sit not down with idle pity.

Gazing on his mighty wrong;

Hurl the bloated tyrant from him—

Say my brother, oh, be strong!

See that sad, despairing mother

Clasp her burning brow in pain;

Lay your hand upon her fetters—

Rend, oh! rend her galling chain!

Here's a pale and trembling maiden,

Brutal arms around her thrown;

Christian father, save, oh! save her,

By the love you bear your own!

Yearly lay a hundred thousand

New-born babes on Moloch's shrine;

Crush these gory, recking altars—

Christians, let this work be thine.

Where the Southern roses blossom,

Weary lives go out in pain,

Dragging to death's shadowy portals,

Slavery's heavy galling chain,

Men of every clime and nation,

Every faith, and sect, and creed,

Lay aside your idle jangling.

Come and staunch the wounds that bleed.

On my people's blighted bosom,

Mountain weights of sorrow lay;

Stop not now to ask the question

Who shall roll the stone away?

Set to work the moral forces,

That are yours of church and state;

Teach them how to war and battle.

'Gainst oppression, wrong, and hate

Oh! be faithful! Oh! be valiant,

Trusting not in human might;

Know that in the darkest conflict,

God is on the side of right!


Frances Ellen Watkins (Harper)


1:2, p. 1




Frances Ellen Watkins (Harper), “Be Active,” Periodical Poets, accessed February 24, 2024,


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