We’re away, we’re away, and bend gladly the oar
To the heart–cheering sound of Niagara’s roar ;
For a fate worse than death would be ours should we stay ;
So to Canada’s borders we hasten away.
We come from the plains of the sunny South–west,
Where the Earth in her beautiful garment is drest ;
And where all would be fair, did not slavery’s hand
Scatter mildew, and blighting, and wo o’er the land.
Then away, then away o’er the foam–crested wave
To Britannia’s home for the fugitive slave ;
Where the Lion of England keeps ever at bay
The prowling man–hunter who seeks for his prey.
And though long have our spirits been weary and sad,
Thy anthem, Niagara, maketh us glad :
And we read in the beautiful bow on thy spray,
A promise of safety and freedom to–day.
Then away, then away, and ply cheerly the oar,
Each stroke brings us nearer to Canada’s shore.
We are there ! we are there ! our boat touches the strand,
And the bow of our vessel is high on the land.
Unship every oar, for our labor is done,
Our freedom is gained, and our manhood is won !
The toils we endured, and the dangers, are past !
We are free ! we are FREE, we are FREE then at last !
Source: Anti-Slavery Songs: A Selection From the Best Anti-Slavery Authors. Salem, Ohio: I. Trescott & Co., 1849
Read the article The Niagara River: Between Slavery and Freedom by the U.S. National Park Service