James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

March 3

On the Freeing of the Serfs

By Edna Dean Proctor (1829–1923)

  • Alexander II., Emperor of Russia, proclaimed the emancipation of the serfs throughout his dominions on March 3, 1861. The attacks of the Nihilists led him to enter upon a reactionary policy and he was assassinated by them.

  • HAIL to the Czar Alexander!

    Hail to the Prince of the Free!

    Not to the proud would he pander;

    Truer and nobler and grander

    Than Macedon’s hero is he,


    Listen! how melodies rural

    Freight every wind with his praise!

    Give him the golden crown mural!—

    First from the seas to the Ural

    Liberty’s flag to upraise,


    Greatest is not the Czar Peter;

    (Sound it, O Bells, from each steeple!)

    No, for his fame will be fleeter;

    No, for the homage is sweeter

    Paid to the Czar of the People,


    Ah! when the Muscovite story

    Ages to ages shall tell,

    Still will the patriarchs hoary

    Cry, “’twas the Czar of our glory,

    He who loved Russians so well,


    God be his shield and defender!

    Keep him from sorrow afar!

    Then, when his life he shall render,

    Fold in eternity’s splendor

    Russia’s redeemer, the Czar