Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
The Fourth of July—1803
Tune—“Anacreon in Heaven”

IN years which are past, when America fought
  For a voice in the national councils of Britain;
She, finding Columbia could never be bought
  But with blood, then with carnage these states did she threaten;
  Nor did we rejoice, though we met with one voice,        5
  The challenge of combat, or slavery our choice:
And long was the contest, our struggles were great,
To gain the bless’d freedom we now celebrate.
With vigour was each bloody campaign renew’d
  By the blood-hounds of tyranny, spreading confusion:        10
But America, wise in her councils, pursued
  Virtue’s path, and did frustrate their plans of delusion.
  ’Twas glorious the plan—man join’d fellow-man,
  To end the dire conflict proud Britain began.
Though long was the contest, our struggle though great,        15
We gain’d the bless’d freedom we now celebrate.
The heroes who fell in our country’s defence,
  To their memories so dear, let’s pour forth a libation;
Their virtues and courage appreciate with sense;
  ’Twas their patriot valour which form’d us a nation.        20
  When call’d to the field, none ever would yield,
  For freedom they fought, and ’twas virtue their shield.
Though long was the contest, the struggle though great,
They gain’d the bless’d freedom we now celebrate.
Midst all our rejoicings, our hearts let us bend        25
  To thank, nor forget the benignance of Heaven:
By a cherub, its councils our charter did send,
  Which, cordially prayed for, was blissfully given:
  Enrich’d by the prize, did our incense arise,
  And our grateful oblations ascend to the skies.        30
The contest was ended, and struggles so great:
We gain’d the bless’d freedom we now celebrate.
Now superior we stand in the annals of fame;
  In peace, wealth, and happiness greatly resplendent:
As freemen let us maintain this great name,        35
  “America free, and remains independent.”
  Let our hearts be on fire with ardent desire,
  That our offspring to freedom may ever aspire,
Remembering that long was the conflict, and great,
Which gain’d the bless’d freedom we now celebrate.        40

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