Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
Ode for Independence Day
By William Davis Gallagher (1808–1894)
 
GOD of the high and glorious heaven,
To Thee, forever, praise be given!
When tyrants aim’d the deadly blow,
To lay Columbia’s banner low,
Thou, who canst blast, and who canst save,        5
Stretch’d forth thine arm to shield the brave—
And hurl’d Oppression’s minions back,
Dishonour’d, on their blood-stain’d track.
 
How fought our Spartan sires, and fell,
Their children need not shame to tell:        10
Thou wert the power that led them on,
And smiled whene’er their valour won;
And Thou the power that struck the blow,
Which laid their proud oppressors low;
To thee, O God! their children raise,        15
This hallow’d day, the voice of praise.
 
Year after year hath worn away,
Since, on this ever-glorious day,
That deed of daring might was done,
Which freed the land of Washington!        20
’Twas Thou who nerved the arm that smote!
And Thou who nerved the hand that wrote!
And Thou who nerved the tongue that swore
To seal that freedom with its gore!
 
Then went the shout, all far and free:—        25
No longer bend the suppliant knee!
No longer cower beneath the nod
Of man—nor bow to aught but God!
Rise! swerve not till the work be done—
Till brighter still shine Valour’s sun!        30
Death to the traitor, and the slave!—
For country—Freedom—or the grave!
 
Since—many a year hath roll’d away,
And still returns this hallow’d day;
And still, O God! this land is free—        35
And bends its sons to none but Thee!
And Freedom’s torch is in her hand—
Its light illumines every land;
And despots, shuddering and amazed,
Curse this fair land where first it blazed!        40
 
 
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