Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
The Tars of Columbia—1813
Tune—“Anacreon in Heaven”

YE sons of old Neptune, whose spirits of steel
  In tempests were harden’d, by peril were temper’d,
Whose limbs, like the wild winds that sweep the bare keel,
  By fetters of tyrants shall never be hamper’d;
      Mid the storm and the flood        5
      Still your honours shall bud,
And bloom with fresh fragrance, though nurtured with blood:
  For the tars of Columbia are lords of the wave,
  And have sworn that old ocean’s their throne or their grave.
The eagle of empire, from Europe’s rich plain,        10
  O’er the wide-rolling waters long urged his proud pinion:
Now enthroned on our heights that o’ershadow the main,
  He exults in the fields of his new-born dominion.
      In the tops of our pine,
      With refulgence divine,        15
The blaze of his eye shall eternally shine;
  For the tars of Columbia, &c.
The chiefs who our freedom sustain’d on the land,
  Fame’s far-spreading voice has eternized in story:
By the roar of our cannon now call’d to the strand,
  She beholds on the ocean their rivals in glory.        20
      Her sons there she owns,
      And her clarion’s bold tones
Tell of Hull and Decatur, of Bainbridge and Jones:
  For the tars of Columbia, &c.
She speaks, too, of Lawrence, the merciful brave,
  Whose body in death still his flag nobly shielded:        25
With his blood he serenely encrimson’d the wave,
  And surrender’d his life, but his ship never yielded.
      His spirit still soars
      Where the sea-battle roars,
And proclaims to the nations of earth’s farthest shores,
  That the tars of Columbia, &c.
When the lightning of night fires the turbulent deeps,
  When foams the red wave under War’s wasteful demon,
When, save Danger and Death, every sea-spirit sleeps,
  Then, on danger and death smiles Columbia’s bold seaman.
      Unmoved as the pole,        35
      His invincible soul
The bolts and the battle still round him bids roll;
  For the tars of Columbia, &c.
His ship’s the loved ark of his safety and cheer,
  His canopy, heaven, and his path the broad billow;
By the pole-star of duty, all dauntless he’ll steer        40
  To the laurels of age, or a coral-grown pillow.
      But whenever fate’s tie
      Breaks, and lets his soul fly,
There’s a glorious state-room awaits him on high:
  For the tars of Columbia, &c.
Columbia shall yet view her maritime hosts,        45
  On her lakes, seas, and rivers impervious surround her;
Like the rocks that have girt, since creation, her coasts,
  On them every sea-borne assailant shall founder.
      Be it Britain or Gaul,
      Still her sons at the call        50
Shall guard her, and grace in their triumph, or fall.
  For the tars of Columbia, &c.
From the time-hallow’d oaks of oracular Jove
  Burst the voice of the god, at Dodona’s famed fountain:
Our oaks on the ocean more gloriously rove
  Than waved their broad boughs, overshading the mountain.        55
      Their oracles bold
      In deep thunders are roll’d,
And, announced in dark volumes, to empires unfold,
  That the tars of Columbia, &c.
Our country’s a ship of imperial state,
  New built from the stanchest materials of ages;        60
While majestic she moves in the sea of her fate,
  Her beauty the eyes of the nations engages.
      Her colours sublime
      Shall salute every clime,
Borne safe through the shoals and the tempests of time.
  For the tars of Columbia, &c.

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