Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
Independence—an Ode—1816
By William Ray (1771–1827)
 
TWICE twenty years have roll’d away,
Since, on this memorable day,
  Was Independence born:
The child of Heaven—of Earth the joy,
Whom no base Herod could destroy,        5
  Though feeble and forlorn.
 
Its strength hath increased with its years, till, behold,
  A giant Colossus it stands;
A statue like those which were worshipp’d of old,
  When gods were the work of men’s hands:        10
A statue, though spirit and life it contains—
  Breathes, speaks in a language well known,
“From all other nations, to you it belongs
  To cherish my blessings—alone;
 
      “To you, Americans, I give        15
        Man’s equal rights to share;
      And be those rights, or die or live,
        Your ever-constant care.”
 
      Our heroes lamented
        Have purchased the prize,        20
      Their blood hath cemented,
      Their genius invented—
      With offerings sweet-scented,
        The fane where it lies.
 
      Lighted by a flame of glory        25
        Is the temple—on its walls
      Sculptured are those deeds in story,
        Which renown immortal calls.
 
And when Britannia lately sought again
To bind our nation, with a tenfold chain—        30
With all the powers of Europe on her side,
To her indebted, and with her allied,
While native savages—internal foes,
With Murder, Treason, and Rebellion rose—
Thy name, O, Independence! like a charm,        35
Call’d from black heavens the meteor of alarm,
Which shot like lightning through each dauntless soul?
And broke, like thunder, with tremendous roll!
The bolts of Vengeance on our foes were hurl’d,
And Peace and Independence bless’d the world!        40
 
      Such is the magic of thy name,
      And such the wonders of thy fame;
      Long may thy offspring calmly rest
      Securely on Columbia’s breast;
      That breast which glows with noble pride,        45
      To no legitimates allied,
      Save God and Nature—these it owns,
      Above all potentates and thrones;
      From these the people, every hour,
      Derive and exercise their power;        50
      To these amenable for all—
      Masters in whom they stand or fall.
      With such immortal powers allied,
      With God and Nature on our side,
      The glorious era let us hail,        55
      Which gave to man, so weak, so frail,
      A boon so precious from the sky,
      As Independence—Fourth July.
 
May all other nations, in time, too, rejoice,
To have, for their rulers, the men of their choice—        60
The King of all kings, but no other obey,
And bless’d Independence the universe sway.
 
 
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