Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
The Barbary Captive Released
BLEST country of freedom! no longer my home!
In my boyhood I loved o’er your green fields to roam:
Columbia! still sweet to my ear is the sound,
Though now I’m a captive, dishonour’d and bound.
Dear land of my birth! where my kindred all dwell,        5
Couldst thou see thy lost son in this comfortless cell,
Pale, starving, a slave, and with irons compress’d,
Thy vengeance would rise, and his woes be redress’d.
While millions thy bloom-scented breezes inhale,
And on thy rich harvests of plenty regale,        10
Here, far from the shores of abundance and health,
My wretchedness adds to a rude tyrant’s wealth.
Enfeebled and weary, throughout the long day
I toil in the sun, where no pure zephyrs play:
No food fit for man doth my hunger assuage,        15
Nor cool draughts extinguish my thirst’s burning rage.
When night o’er the world drops her curtains of gloom,
I am plunged in the damps of this horrible tomb,
Where nought can be heard but the clanking of chains,
And moaning of slaves that give vent to their pains.        20
Ah, then, my dear country! on Fancy’s free wing,
To thy bosom I fly, while Memory’s keen sting,
Its tortures suspending, a moment lies sheathed,
And I dance o’er the scenes where my infancy breathed.
Their pomp to my view thy grand mountains disclose,        25
And I gaze where the skies on their summits repose;
Thy valleys of beauty once more I behold,
And the loved of my heart in my arms I enfold.
But, alas! as the kiss of affection I take,
A groan breaks the dream, and my senses awake:        30
A dungeon surrounds me—the ocean’s broad wave
From the country of freedom divides the poor slave.
My sweet little infants, and partner endear’d,
My brothers and sisters, my parents revered,
Your tears and your sighs, your dishevelled gray hairs,        35
Are proof of your anguish, your sorrow and cares.
But happy, ah! happy indeed were my doom,
If, as you conjecture, the sea were my tomb;
But deeper, more poignant, your sobs and your woes,
Could you see me in fetters—degraded with blows.        40
Columbia, my country! whose generous blood
Controll’d the strong surges of tyranny’s flood,
When England was mistress of ocean’s domain—
How long shall thy sons in vile bondage complain?
The dawn through my grates the thick darkness dissolves,        45
And again the huge bolt of my dungeon revolves;
That monster’s dread step is a prelude to pains,
When the lash that he bears will drink blood from my veins.
Hark! what notes of sweet music! they thrill through my soul:
Columbia’s own strain is that soft melting roll!        50
Gracious Heaven! my dear countrymen once more I view!
Hail, Liberty’s banner! ye base tyrants adieu.
My wrongs are all cancelled—your shore is receding—
My country has freed me, my heart has ceased bleeding—
In the arms of affection I soon shall be bless’d,        55
And my dust with the dust of my fathers shall rest.

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