Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
American Happiness
 
WHILE beneath the sharp scourge of tyrannical power,
  The nations of Europe complain;
And princes, and prelates, and placemen devour
  What industry toils to obtain:
 
By ignorance, indolence, slavery depress’d,        5
  While Asia and Africa mourn;
Where the lamp that illumines the national breast
  Is dimly discover’d to burn:
 
In this happy clime, by Columbus explor’d,
  The genius of Freedom presides;        10
Her sons to protect, wields the wide-waving sword;
  With wisdom our government guides.
 
No monarch his millions here annually spends,
  By the sweat of his subjects obtain’d;
Nor gives to his favourites, flatterers, and friends,        15
  What labour has honestly gain’d.
 
To support our free system of government, all
  Their proportion with cheerfulness pay;
Or does, on our purses, necessity call—
  Her mandates we promptly obey.        20
 
No armies of hirelings our country o’erspread,
  At once to oppress and despoil:
As he earns, every citizen eats his own bread,
  And feeds on the fruits of his toil.
 
No privileged clergy our property seize,        25
  To sate their extortionate thirst:
We give and withhold when and whate’er we please,
  Adjudging to each what is just.
 
Wide over our fields wave rich oceans of grain;
  Our meadows with provender teem;        30
The full horn of Plenty is pour’d on the plain;
  And Peace sheds abroad her bright beam.
 
Columbians! how bless’d is your lot in this life,
  By the goodness of Providence given;
Remote from injustice, corruption, and strife,        35
  To enjoy all the bounties of Heaven.
 
How blissful, compared with the sorrowful fate
  Of the rest of this sublunar globe;
Where the wounds which oppression inflicts on the state
  Are too deep and too deadly to probe.        40
 
While our bosoms expand with emotions of joy
  For these favours so freely bestow’d;
Let each heart hymns of gratitude offer on high
  To our good and beneficent God.
 
And let all who love liberty firmly unite,        45
  To preserve it unsullied and pure;
To protect from infraction each rational right,
  And bar to oppression the door.
 
O, let not corruption enfeeble your hands,
  On which Freedom must lean for defence;        50
Nor Dissension dissolve your reciprocal bands,
  Whatever her specious pretence.
 
But by virtue transmit to your sons unimpair’d,
  What your sires by their valour obtain’d;
From the fraud of your foes those immunities guard,        55
  Which by force were so happily gain’d.
 
United and virtuous, your empire shall stand,
  The glory and pride of the world,
Till Time from his glass shall shake out the last sand,
  And Eternity’s flag be unfurl’d.        60
 
But should luxury, vice, and contention arise,
  And your manners and morals deprave,
The fabric of Freedom, which now towers to the skies,
  Must tumble in Tyranny’s grave.
 
Should Liberty, through the misdeeds of her friends,        65
  From this her last refuge be driven,
She will fling her fair form on the wings of the winds,
  And return to her birth-place in Heaven.
 
 
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