Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
For the Fourth of July
By Joseph Story (1779–1845)
 
WELCOME! welcome the day, when, assembled as one,
  Our gallant forefathers proclaim’d us a nation;
When Liberty rose, as from chaos the sun,
  To illumine our realm with the rays of salvation;
            Heard in triumph, her voice        5
            Bade her children rejoice,
  And defend by their valour the laws of their choice.
Let the slave bite the dust, who to power bends the knee:
Our God shall protect those who dare to be free.
 
Mid the perils of war, mid the darkness of death;        10
  Our sires forced their way through the wilderness dreary;
In vain famine and sickness shed pestilent breath;
  They grew by defeat, and their zeal ne’er was weary.
            Lo, Liberty’s light
            Through the tempest shone bright,        15
  ’Twas their cloud by the day, and their pillar by night.
Let the brave ne’er despair, for, though myriads oppose,
The arm nerved by Freedom shall conquer all foes.
 
Shades of heroes departed! the perils ye bore,
  The fame of your deeds, to your offspring descending,        20
Shall swell through each vale and enkindle each shore,
  From the spring of the morn to the day’s western ending.
            Your country to save,
            Mid the battle’s dire rave
  Ye bled, and the laurels have cover’d your grave;        25
While we mourn your sad doom, not unbless’d be the sigh;
’Tis sweet, ’tis sublime, for our country to die.
 
Where Liberty dwells, lo, what beauties arise,
  Arts, science, and virtue enjoy her protection;
E’en the soil a fresh nurture distils from the skies,        30
  And pours from its bosom the fruits of perfection.
            Beneath her mild reign
            Commerce freights the free main,
  And the loves and the graces disport on the plain.
Then perish the coward who shrinks to a slave!        35
Heaven gives its rich blessings to nourish the brave.
 
Such blessings are ours—with our honours content,
  We ask but our rights in their peaceful possession:
Not vainly we threaten, nor lightly resent:
  Our hearts leap in union to combat oppression.        40
            When perils are rife,
            We decline not the strife:
  Our altars and homes are more dear than our life:
The land of our fathers ne’er nourished a slave:
To die or be free is the right of the brave!        45
 
 
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