Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
Song: ‘Columbia! while the sons of Fame’
By William Ray (1771–1827)
Written in Tripoli

Tune—“Madam, you know my trade is war!”

COLUMBIA! while the sons of Fame
Thy freedom through the world proclaim,
And hellborn tyrants dread the name
  That wills all nations free;
Remote on Barbary’s pirate coast,        5
By foes enslaved, a miscreant host,
No more the rights of man we boast:
  Adieu, bless’d Liberty!
How fearful lour’d the gloomy day,
When, stranded on the shoals, we lay        10
Exposed, our foremast cut away,
  To the rough, dashing sea;
When hostile gunboats thunder’d round,
And no relief nor hopes were found,
These mournful words swell’d every sound:        15
  Adieu, bless’d Liberty!
In helpless servitude, forlorn,
From country, friends, and freedom torn,
Alike we dread each night and morn,
  For naught but grief we see;        20
When burdens press, the lash we bear,
And all around is black despair,
We breathe the silent, fervent prayer:
  O, come, bless’d Liberty!
Memory, to misery e’er unkind,        25
Brings present, to the painful mind,
The woes oblivion, else, would find,
  And evils cease to be;
And Fancy, when we’re wrapp’d in sleep,
Conveys us o’er the boundless deep;        30
But, waked to sigh, we live to weep:
  Adieu, bless’d Liberty!
And when invading cannons roar,
And life, their blood, from hundreds pour,
And mangled bodies float ashore,        35
  And ruins strew the sea;
The thoughts of death or freedom near,
Create alternate hope and fear,
O! when will that bless’d day appear
  That brings sweet Liberty!        40
When, rear’d on yonder castle’s height,
That now bare flagstaff’s dress’d in white,
We gaze enraptured at the sight;
  How happy shall we be!
When thundering guns proclaim a peace,        45
Our toils all o’er, our woes shall cease,
We’ll bless the power that brings release,
  And hail sweet Liberty!

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