Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
The Birth-day of Washington
By George Denison Prentice (1802–1870)
 
WHY swell a million hearts as one
  With memories of the past?
Why rings out yon deep thunder-gun
  Upon the rushing blast?
Why hold the beautiful and brave        5
  The jubilee of earth?
It is, it is the day that gave
  Our patriot hero birth.
 
We offer here a sacrifice
  Of hearts to him who came        10
To guard young Freedom’s paradise
  With sword of living flame:
To him who, in War’s whirlwind loud,
  Rode like an angel form,
And set his glory on the cloud—        15
  A halo of the storm.
 
A hundred years, with all their trains
  Of shadow, have gone by,
And yet his glorious name remains—
  A sound that cannot die!        20
’Tis graven on the hill, the vale,
  And on the mountain tall,
And speaks in every sounding gale,
  And roaring waterfall!
 
No marble, on his resting-spot,        25
  Its sculptured column rears:
But his is still a nobler lot—
  A grateful nation’s tears.
Old Time, that bids the marble bow,
  Makes green each laurel leaf        30
That blooms upon the sainted brow
  Of our immortal chief!
 
His deeds were ours—but through the world
  That mighty name will be,
Where glory’s banner is unfurl’d,        35
  The watchword of the free—
And as they bend their eagle eyes
  On Victory’s burning sun,
Their shouts will echo to the skies—
  “Our God and Washington!”        40
 
 
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