Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
An American Parody
 
On the old song of “Rule, Britannia”

From the Pennsylvania Gazette, October 19, 1774

“WHEN Britain first, by Heaven’s command,
  Arose from out the azure main,
This was the charter of the land,
  And guardian angels sung this strain:—
    ‘Rule, Britannia, rule the waves,        5
    Britons never will be slaves.’”
 
To spread bright Freedom’s gentle sway,
  Your isle too narrow for its bound,
We traced wild ocean’s trackless way,
  And here a safe asylum found.        10
    Rule, Britannia, rule the waves,
    But rule us justly—not like slaves.
 
While we were simple, you grew great:
  Now, swell’d with luxury and pride,
You pierce our peaceful free retreat,        15
  And haste t’ enslave with giant stride.
    Rule, Britannia, rule the waves,
    But rule us justly—not like slaves.
 
“Thee haughty tyrants ne’er could tame:
  All their attempts to pull thee down        20
Did but arouse thy generous flame,
  And work their wo, and thy renown.
    Rule, Britannia, rule the waves;
    Britons then would ne’er be slaves.”
 
Let us, your sons, by freedom warn’d,        25
  Your own example keep in view;
’Gainst tyranny be ever arm’d,
  Though we our tyrant find in you.
    Rule, Britannia, rule the waves,
    But never make your children slaves.        30
 
With justice and with wisdom reign:
  We then with thee will firmly join
To make thee mistress of the main,
  “And every shore it circles, thine.”
    Rule, Britannia, rule the waves,        35
    But ne’er degrade your sons to slaves.
 
When life glides slowly through thy veins,
  We’ll then our filial fondness prove:
Bound only by the welcome chains
  Of duty, gratitude, and love.        40
    Rule, Britannia, rule the waves,
    But never make your children slaves.
 
Our youth shall prop thy tottering age;
  Our vigour nerve thy feeble arm:
In vain thy foes shall spend their rage;        45
  We’ll shield thee safe from every harm.
    Rule, Britannia, rule the waves,
    But never make your children slaves.
 
For thee we’ll toil with cheerful heart,
  We’ll labour, but we will be free—        50
Our growth and strength to thee impart,
  And all our treasures bring to thee.
    Rule, Britannia, rule the waves;
    We’re subjects, but we’re not your slaves.
 
 
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