Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
Death or Victory
 
COLUMBIANS, rouse to glory,
  The trump of War alarms,
Around the tree of Liberty,
  Come buckle on your arms—
Defend the glorious heritage        5
  Your fathers’ valour won,
So shall fame, crown each name,
  When the day of battle’s done.
 
Long has our country’s vengeance,
  In mild forbearance slept,        10
While free-born sons of liberty
  In bloody bondage wept—
Let now, since peace in war must cease,
  Your valour teach the foe,
Whilst their blood swells the flood,        15
  That ’tis Vengeance strikes the blow.
 
The haughty fleets of Britain
  Assail’d your native shore,
Around each bay to seek for prey,
  Their thundering cannons roar.        20
But Rodgers and Decatur soon
  Their daring crest shall lower—
O’er their slain on the main,
  Shall Columbia’s eagle soar.
 
Soon on the plains of Abraham        25
  Our hardy sons shall rear,
The banner free of liberty,
  To haughty Britain’s fear;
Nor will they quit the glorious field,
  Till laurels nobly deck        30
Every head, quick or dead,
  Of the conquerors of Quebec.
 
Columbians love their liberty,
  Their country, and their God,
No kingly power shall make them cower,        35
  They dread no tyrant’s nod;
Their happy country’s destiny
  Is ever to be free,
And they’ll fight for every right,
  For their land and liberty.        40
 
Then rouse, Columbians, rush to arms!
  Obey your country’s call;
Your motto, “Death or victory!”
  Live gloriously or fall—
Preserve the precious heritage        45
  Your fathers’ valour won,
So shall fame crown each name,
  When the day of battle’s done.
 
 
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