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

ALL hail to the birth of the happiest land
  That the sun in his journey is proud to awaken;
Here, Energy, Enterprise, Knowledge command,
  By Obstacle hearten’d, by Danger unshaken.
      Virtue, Valour, unite,        5
      Prop the pillar of Might,
Rear’d by Him who surmounts it, an angel of light.
  O, proud beat our hearts, and our valour swells high,
  On the birthday of Freedom—the Fourth of July!
Long, long was the conflict, and doubtful the fray,        10
  When to crush the Philistine our David descended;
But Justice, indignant, decreed us the day,
  And Heaven our virtue and Valour befriended.
      Then our chieftain beloved,
      And compatriots approved,        15
From the camp to the senate in majesty moved.
  We freemen were born, and we freemen will die,
  And this oath we renew on each Fourth of July!
This day the old soldier limps jollily out,
  And points to his scars as the stars of his glory;        20
This day the sad widows and orphans may shout,
  Whose husbands and sires shall live deathless in story.
      Sweet peace to the dead,
      Whose spirits were shed,
And now for their palms to Elysium are fled!        25
  The martyrs of Freedom look down from the sky,
  And crowd round their chief on the Fourth of July!
The lyre of the bard—the historian’s page,
  Shall our chieftain resound till Fame’s clarion sever;
The hero, the statesman, the Christian, the sage,        30
  Who laws bound with freedom in union forever.
      O, accursed let him rave,
      And no lenity save,
Who dares plant a nettle on Washington’s grave!
  Our hearts to Mount Vernon, sad pilgrims, will hie,        35
  To weep at his shrine on the Fourth of July!
O, Freedom! how soothing to sense and to thought,
  The nurse of the Arts, and the cradle of Science!
To protect thee, our sires their descendants have taught,
  And we scorn foreign threats, and we ask no alliance!        40
      Who dare molest
      The fair Queen of the West,
While her sons imbibe warrior-blood from her breast?
  Ye matrons, the accents your infants first try,
  Be Washington, Freedom, and Fourth of July!        45
Here Genius his badges, respected, may wear;
  Ambition toil, rising the Mount of Promotion:
Here yeomanry whistle, unarm’d, at his share;
  And Religion choose safely her shrine of devotion!
      Here Modesty roves        50
      In Cashmerian groves,
Like Innocence led by the Graces and Loves!
  Ye bards of the west! to no Helicon fly,
  The theme shall inspire on the Fourth of July!
Here Commerce, exulting, shall spread her white wings,        55
  Here the fields, breathing perfume, wave golden their tresses;
To the base rumbling wheel, here the shrill anvil rings,
  And the taper’s late vigil pale study confesses.
      Where’s a country on earth
      So divine in her birth,        60
Can boast of such prowess, such beauty, such worth?
  Who loves not his country, abash’d let him fly,
  Nor man patriot Concord this Fourth of July.
Late, the war-fiends, infuriate, have ravaged the east,
  And on horrible banquets of carnage run riot;        65
Now, the world’s from the tyrant’s blood-sceptre released,
  And conquering monarchs are leaguing for quiet.
      Hope espies from afar
      The millennial star
Smile on Peace while erecting the tombstone of War.        70
  Peal your cannon in triumph, your streamers bid fly,
  Our wave-cradled Nelsons, this Fourth of July.
Should Faction, Encroachment, Oppression arise,
  We instinctively turn to our good Constitution:
The cynosure, in our political skies:        75
  The oracle, knowing nor change nor pollution.
      Lo! the eye of the seer,
      In Futurity’s year,
Sees America empress of nations appear.
  To the great God of Armies, who marshals the sky,        80
  Let our gratitude rise on this Fourth of July.

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