My country! by our fathers reared
As champion of the world's opprest;
Whose moral force the tyrant feared;
Whose flag all struggling freemen cheered;
In clutching at an empire's crest
Thou too art fallen like the rest.

Not in thy numbers, wealth or might,
Proud mistress of a continent!
For rival nations, at the sight
Of thy resources, view with fright
Thy progress without precedent;
Not there is seen thy swift descent.

Reread the story of thy birth!
Recall the years in conflict spent
To prove to a despairing earth
That every Government of worth
Is really based on free consent;
Then view with shame thy present bent!

Thou hadst a place unique, sublime;
In many a land beyond the sea
The victims of despotic crime
In thee, the latest born of Time,
Beheld a land from tyrants free,
The sacred Ark of Liberty.

But now the Old World's lust for lands
Infects thee too; the dread disease
Hath left its plague-spots on thy hands;
Thy monster area still expands;
For, blind to history's Nemesis,
Thou too wouldst alien races seize.

Condemning with profound disdain
All other nations' heartless greed,
How couldst thou buy from humbled Spain
A people struggling to attain
A freedom suited to their need?
Why stultify thy boasted creed?

Thine aid to them thou mightst have given,
As France her aid once gave to thee;
With them thy sons might well have striven,
And their blood-rusted fetters riven;
But why, in Heaven's name, should we
Shoot men aspiring to be free?

I tread the fields where thousands sleep,-
The blood-soaked fields that freed the slave;
What precious memories still they keep
For hearts that mourn and eyes that weep!
Yet for the lives those heroes gave
What have we that they died to save?

A Union? Yes; outstretched in might
From snow to palm, from sea to sea;
But pledged to use its strength aright,
And evermore to keep alight
The torch of human liberty:
Is this the Union that we see?

Where history's Martyr dared to break
The power that held a race in chains,
I see the ghastly lynching-stake,
Where brutal mobs their vengeance take,
And, since no law their course restrains,
Gloat o'er their writhing victim's pains.

Race hatred,-born of groundless fears
And narrow prejudice of caste-,
Now greets the cultured black with sneers
And, barring him from high careers,
Breaks, like a mad iconoclast,
The nation's idols of the past.

No more can we with steadfast eyes
Protest, when tortured races moan
With hands uplifted toward the skies;
Their tyrants answer with surprise
And new-born insolence of tone,-
“These are our lynchings; cure your own!”

Yet hope remains! A path retraced
Is nobler than persistent wrong;
A fault confessed is half effaced;
That land alone can be disgraced
Which is not just, however strong,
Toward those to whom its “spoils” belong.

My country! Would to God that praise
Might leave my lips, instead of blame!
So near the parting of the ways,
Subjected to the eager gaze
Of millions, jealous of thy fame,
Retrace the path that ends in shame!