Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
Death or Victory—1814
BRAVE warrior of old ocean,
  Columbian heroes, hail!
Whose vengeance speaks in thunder deep,
  Whose valour swells the gale;
Again—again to conquest! on!        5
  The star-girt flag let fly;
For the foe onward go,
  ’Tis to death or victory.
The spirit of Columbia
  Shall ne’er in chains be thrall’d:        10
’Fore the terrors of her lightning front
  The foe shall shrink appall’d.
Her sons, in freedom strongly nerved,
  Shall tyrant worlds defy:
Midst the storms of their arms,        15
  They’ll find death or victory.
See! see the glorious vanguard,
  With pendant blue unfurl’d;
Hesperia’s banner’d eagle waves
  Defiance to the world:        20
Tells, when their country calls to arms,
  How freemen dare to die.
At her call they will fall,
  Or find glorious victory.
Though towering o’er each billow        25
  The tyrant foe appear;
Though wide his thousand streamers wave,
  And proudly flout the air—
Yet, freemen, on! midst storm, midst fire,
  Ye conquer, or ye die!        30
From the grave of the brave
  Springs our country’s liberty.
Thrice and thrice dark lowering,
  The foeman gives his front;
And thrice and thrice Columbia’s tars        35
  Loud hail the battle’s brunt.
And thrice and thrice our eagle soars
  Triumphantly on high:
Whilst the deep wakes his sleep,
  At our shouts of victory.        40
Come on, confederate tyrants!
  Come try what freemen dare;
In liberty’s almighty cause
  They scorn—they know not fear.
While iron tempests raging beat,        45
  Their standard star shall fly;
To the brave it shall wave
  On to death or victory!
Ye sacred sires! whose spirits
  Still guard your country’s weal:        50
Lo! o’er the wave-repelling deck
  Your sons embattled kneel.
By your blood which flow’d we, bending, swear,
  “Freemen we’ll live or die.”
Midst the storms of our arms        55
  We’ll find death or victory.

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