Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
Returning Peace
From the Pennsylvania Gazette, May 14, 1783

          The following piece was composed for, and sung at, an entertainment given by the sheriff and inhabitants of Roadstown, Cumberland county, New Jersey, April 24, 1783.

LET every age due honours pay,
And swell with joy the grateful lay,
  To hail returning peace:
Accept, sweet maid, the votive strain,
And bid loud carols fill the plain,        5
Since thou hast loosed the prisoner’s chain,
  And bid war’s horrors cease.
Of murmuring plaints let age beware;
E’en age should smooth the brow of care,
  Nor mourn misfortunes past:        10
Ye cheerful youths of either sex,
No more let fear your bosoms vex,
Or friends or lovers lost perplex,
  Since peace is come at last.
Nor fire nor rapine now shall spoil        15
The well-earn’d fruits of all your toil,
  Or rob your fleecy care;
But commerce, on each favouring breeze,
Shall waft her treasures o’er the seas,
Whilst rival nations strive to please,        20
  And in our friendship share.
The soldier, long inured to arms,
To marshall’d fields and loud alarms,
  Return’d to love and rest,
Shall range the corn in even rows,        25
Or lop the too luxuriant boughs,
Or fell the pine with steady blows,
  In peace and plenty bless’d.
No midnight horrors now shall fright,
Or boding visions of the night        30
  Distress the simple swain;
But, rising with the morning gray,
He times his labours with the day,
Or journeys, fearless, on his way,
  And whistles o’er the plain.        35
Now sportive nymphs shall scour the glade,
Or seek the cool, refreshing shade,
  Their innocence secure:
Those are thy gifts, indulgent Peace:
O! may these blessings never cease,        40
But thy wide empire still increase,
  While nature shall endure.

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