Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
Washington’s Arrival in Philadelphia
 
From the Freeman’s Journal, or the North American Intelligencer, December 10, 1783

THE GREAT, unequal conflict past,
  The Briton banish’d from our shore;
Peace, heaven-descended, comes at last,
  And hostile nations rage no more;
From fields of death the wearied swain        5
Returns to rural toils again.
 
In every vale she smiles serene,
  Freedom’s bright stars more radiant rise:
New charms she adds to every scene,
  Her brighter sun illumes our skies;        10
Remotest realms, admiring, stand,
And hail the hero of our land.
 
He comes!—the genius of these lands,
  Fame’s thousand tongues his worth confess,
Who conquer’d with his suffering bands,        15
  And grew immortal by distress:
Thus calms succeed the stormy blast,
And virtue is repaid at last.
 
O, Washington!—thrice glorious name;
  What due rewards can man decree:        20
Empires are far below thy aim,
  And sceptres have no charms for thee;
Virtue alone has thy regard,
And she must be thy great reward.
 
When Faction rear’d her snaky head,        25
  And join’d with tyrants to destroy,
Where’er you march’d, the monster fled,
  Timorous her arrows to employ.
Hosts catch’d from you a bolder flame,
And despots trembled at your name.        30
 
Now hurrying from the busy scene
  Where thy Potomac’s waters flow,
Mayst thou enjoy the rural reign,
  And every earthly blessing know:
So he 1 who Rome’s proud legions sway’d,        35
Return’d and sought his native shade.
 
O say, thou great, exalted name!
  What muse can boast of equal lays?
Thy worth disdains all vulgar fame—
  Transcends the noblest poet’s praise:        40
Art soars unequal to the flight,
And genius sickens at the height.
 
Though thou must meet the general doom—
  While gratitude in man is found,
Honour shall guard thy future tomb,        45
  And laurels deck that hallow’d ground:
Late times shall see and own in you
The patriot and the statesman too.
 
Note 1. Cincinnatus. [back]
 
 
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