Ferdinand Freiligrath: “Freedom and Right”

Excerpt, “A Book of Ballads from the German.”  Translated by Percy Boyd, Esq.  1848.




Oh, think not she sleepeth with those who have perish’d

In dungeons unnumbered by tyranny’s sword;

In the hearts of the free shall her dear name be cherish’d.

Though their lips are forbidden to utter “the Word.”

Yes!  Though, lone exiles by mountain and valley,

They wander uncheer’d by lost liberty’s light,

There’s a pulse in the heart of the Freeman to rally,

While Freedom still liveth, and with her the Right.

For Freedom and Right!


Till victory’s sun-burst shall flash o’er our standard,

No check must impede us, no danger affright,

But with courage redoubled, the first in the vanward,

Our war-cry will thunder, For Freedom!  For Right!

These twin ones, the holy, have come, born of heaven,

To earth by a path track’d in colours of light;

To the Right let the honours of Freedom be given,

To the Free be the glories ascribed of the Right.

Hail!  The Freedom!  The Right!


Let this too inspire us, they never were flying

From fight unto fight more exulting than now;

And the souls which have longest in bondage been lying,

Are stirr’d with the rapture of Liberty’s glow.

Oh!  Let but one ray of that meteor of wonder

Burst in through the darkness of slavery’s night,

And like magic the bonds of the serf are asunder,

And the chains of the Negro are rent at the sight.

The Freedom!  The Right!


Yes!  Your banner of crimson floats broad in the vanward,

The nations have gather’d to see it unfurl’d;

For the motto emblazon’d on liberty’s standard,

Is the death of oppression – the Right rules the world;

What a halo of glory, O God!  They shine clear in.

Like a garland hung over that banner of might;

There is Germany’s oak, and the shamrock of Erin,

And the olive of Greece in that garland of light.

The Freedom!  The Right!


Though many a heart that now throbs shall be lying

In peace, its last slumber and rest will be light;

And over their graves shall that standard, far flying,

Tell how they fought for “The Freedom!  The Right!”

To the memory, then, of the brave, the true-hearted,

Fill up!  They have battled ‘gainst tyranny’s might,

Nor ceased from the struggle till life had departed;

Hurra!  Right forever!  And Freedom through Right!

The Freedom!  The Right!