Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
The Revolution
By Thomas Gray, Jr.
WE meet but to part, love—we part but to meet,
When our foes shall be trodden like dust at our feet.
No fetters, no tyrants our souls shall enslave,
While the ocean shall roll, or the harvest shall wave.
We go—to return when the strife shall be done—        5
When the field shall be fought, and the battle be won—
When the sceptre is smitten, and broken the chain,
We come back in freedom, or come not again.
Yon red-robed battalions are plumed for the fray,
And their banners dance high o’er their martial array;        10
To-morrow, still redder in blood shall they lie
On the spot where they stand—we will conquer or die.
Few, faithful, and fearless, we bend to the fight,
And England’s best legions shall quail at our might;
The rush of our foemen unshaken we stem:        15
As the rock meets the ocean-wave, so meet we them.
Ours are no hirelings train’d to the fight,
With cymbal and clarion, all glittering and bright:
No prancing of chargers, no martial display,
No war-trump is heard from our silent array.        20
O’er the proud heads of freemen our star-banner waves;
Men, firm as their mountains, and still as their graves,
To-morrow shall pour out their life-blood like rain:
We come back in triumph, or come not again.
No fearing, no doubting, thy soldier shall know,        25
When here stands his country and yonder her foe;
One look at the bright sun, one prayer to the sky,
One glance where our banner floats glorious on high;
Then on, as the young lion bounds on his prey;
Let the sword flash on high, fling the scabbard away;        30
Roll on like the thunderbolt over the plain:
We come back in glory, or come not again.
Sweep them off, as the storm sweeps the chaff on its breath,
Where bows the red harvest, whose reaper is Death!
Be strong as the earthquake, and swift as the wind;        35
Carry vengeance before us, and freedom behind;
We shed not vain tears when the warrior is low,
Be his soul to his God, so his breast’s to the foe;
Our tears are the red drops, the life-blood that drain,
When we come back with vengeance, or come not again.        40

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