Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
Ode on Our Naval Victories
 
A CENTURY had Britain held
  The trident of the subject sea,
And all that time no eye beheld
  Her flag strike to an enemy.
 
France left her mistress of the main;        5
  Van Tromp no longer swept the sea;
And the proud crest of haughty Spain
  Bow’d to her great supremacy.
 
The far-famed Hellespont she plough’d,
  And made the crescent wax more pale;        10
While Mussulmen before her bow’d;
  Who scorn’d the Christian’s God to hail.
 
By east and west, by north and south,
  By every sea and every shore,
Her mandates at the cannon’s mouth        15
  Her wooden walls in triumph bore.
 
Where’er the blue wave weltering flow’d,
  Where’er a merchant vessel sail’d,
Her red-cross flag in triumph rode,
  Her red artillery prevail’d.        20
 
Amid the ice of Greenland’s seas,
  Amid the verdant southern isles,
Where’er the frigid waters freeze,
  Where’er the placid ocean smiles,
 
Her navy bore her swelling fame,        25
  Afar and near, triumphantly,
And Britons claim’d the proudest name—
  The sovereigns of the trackless sea.
 
But there was rising in the west
  A nation little known in story,        30
That dared that empire to contest,
  And cross her in the path of glory;
 
That scorn’d to crouch beneath the feet
  Of England’s lion stern and brave;
But venturous launch’d her little fleet,        35
  Her honour and her rights to save.
 
Hard was the struggle, rude the shock,
  The New World ’gainst the stubborn Old!
A dread encounter!—rock to rock;
  The Yankee, and the Briton bold.        40
 
O! then was seen a glorious sight,
  No eye that lives e’er saw before:
The Briton’s sun went down in night—
  The Yankee’s rose to set no more!
 
And that proud flag which undisturb’d,        45
  For ages, at the mast-head flew,
And the old world’s puissance curb’d,
  Struck to the prowess of the new.
 
And, where the red-cross flag had braved
  The dastard world for ages past,        50
Our stars and stripes in triumph waved
  High on the proud top-gallant mast.
 
And there wave they by day and night,
  While sparkle Heaven’s eternal fires,
Emblems of that resistless might        55
  Which daring Liberty inspires.
 
 
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