Song of the Free

Song of the Free

Song of the Free is a song written in 1860 about a man fleeing slavery in Tennessee by escaping to Canada via the Underground Railroad. It is composed to the tune of Oh! Susanna.


I'm on my way to Canada, That cold and dreary land,The dire effects of slavery I can no longer stand,My soul is vexed within me more To think that I'm a slave,I'm now resolved to strike the blow For freedom, or the grave.Oh, righteous father, wilt thou not pity me,And aid me on to Canada, where colored men are free.

I heard the Queen of England say If we would all forsakeOur native land of slavery And come across the lake,That she was standing on the shore With arms extended wide,To give us all a peaceful home Beyond the rolling side.Farewell old master, that's enough for me,I'm going straight to Canada where colored men are free.

Grieve not my wife, Grieve not for me,Oh, do not break my heart; For nought but cruel slaveryWould cause me to depart, If I should stay to quell your grief,Your grief I would augment, For no one knows the day that weAsunder may be rent.Oh, Susannah don't cry after me,I'm going up to Canada where colored men are free.

I served my master all my days Without a dime's reward,But now I'm forced to run away To flee the lash abhored,The hounds are baying on my track The master just behind,Resolved that he will bring me back Before I cross the line.Oh, old master don't come after meI'm going up to Canada where colored men are free.

I heard old master pray last night, I heard him pray for me,That God would come and in his might From Satan set me free,So I from Satan would escape And flee the wrath to come,If there's a fiend in human shape Old Master must be one.Oh, old master while you pray for meI'm doing all I can to reach the land of liberty.

Ohio's not the place for me, For I was much surprised,So many of her sons to see In garments of disguise;Her name has gone throughtout the world Free labor, soil and men,But slaves had better far be hurled Into a lion's den.Farewell Ohio, I'm not safe in thee,I'll travel on to Canada where colored men are free.

I've now embarked for yonder's shore, Where man's a man by law,The vessel soon will bear me o'er To shake the Lion's paw;I no more dread the auctioneer, Nor fear the master's frown,I no more tremble when I hear The baying negro hound.Oh, old master, don't come after me,I'm just in sight of Canada, where colored men are free.

I've landed safe in Canada, Both soul and body free,My blood and brains and tears no more Shall drench old Tennessee;Yet I behold the scalding tears Now streaming from my eye,To think my wife, my only dear, A slave must live and die.Oh, Susannah, don't grieve after me,Forever at the throne of God, I will remember thee.

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