Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
The Gift of the Gods
WHEN Freedom was banish’d from Greece and from Rome,
And wander’d, neglected, in search of a home,
Jove, willing to fix her where long she might stand,
Turn’d the globe round about to examine each land:
With nice circumspection he viewed the whole ball,        5
And weigh’d in his balance the merits of all;
Then quickly determined that England, alone,
Was the place well adapted for Liberty’s throne.
In Britain fair Freedom erected her throne,
And the empire long she maintain’d as her own;        10
Till at length she was slighted, her precepts denied—
Some Britons grew abject, some bloated with pride.
Thus offended, the goddess forsook them with scorn,
And again, disregarded, she wander’d forlorn:
When Jove, looking down, beheld her sad state,        15
And the goddess to heaven resolved to translate.
Arising, ascending to regions of day,
Ten thousand celestials leading her way,
Ere the gates of the mansions of rest had appear’d,
She the cries of oppressed America heard.        20
She halted, she listen’d, she drew back her train;
In pity to earth she returned again;
She lighted her foot on Columbia’s shore,
Resolved here to dwell and abide evermore.
Gay Momus insisted no place was more fit        25
Than the land of bless’d Freedom for true Attic wit;
And Venus confess’d, if ’twere pleasing to Jove,
She would glad make Columbia the empire of love.
Then Mars nobly stepp’d from his mistress’s side,
And swore that her freemen in arms should preside;        30
While Bacchus declared that each heart-cheering juice
For the use of America he would produce.
To render complete all the blessings now past,
And provide that they might to eternity last,
’Twas resolved that a toast should that instant be given,        35
And drank in full bumpers of nectar through heaven;
The toast of the gods was—and mark it, ye free—
“May freemen with freemen forever agree!”
By their enemies then they shall always be fear’d,
And with wine, wit, and women incessantly cheer’d.        40

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