Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
Freedom and Peace
By Alexander Wilson (1766–1813)
 
Written during the embargo, by the author of “American Ornithology”

WHILE Europe’s mad powers o’er the ocean are ranging,
  Regardless of right, with their bloodhounds of war,
Their kingdoms, their empires, distracted and changing,
  Their murders and ruins resounding afar:
Lo! Freedom and Peace, fair descendants of heaven!        5
  Of all our companions the noblest and best,
From dark eastern regions by anarchy driven,
  Have found a retreat in the climes of the West.
  Then Freedom and Peace we will cherish together;
    We’ll guard them with valour—we’ll crown them with art;        10
    Nor ever resign up the one or the other,
      For all that ambition’s proud pomp can impart.
 
Here dwell the blest cherubs, so dear to our wishes!
  Here, throned in our hearts, they inspire all our themes;
They sport round each cottage, with smiles and with blushes,        15
  They glide through our streets—they sail down our streams:
The shades of our heroes, immortal, delighted,
  Look down from the radiant mansions of day:
“Be firm!” they exclaim: “Be forever united,
  And nations may threaten, but cannot dismay.”
            For Freedom and Peace, &c.
        20
 
The demons of discord are roaming the ocean,
  Their insult, and rapine, and murder are law!
From scenes so atrocious of blood and commotion,
  It is great, it is godlike, a while to withdraw.
Perhaps, when the hand that has fed is suspended—        25
  When Famine’s pale spectres their steps overtake,
The firm voice of Truth may, at last, be attended,
  And Justice and Season once more re-awake.
            But Freedom and Peace, &c.
 
Away with the vultures of war and ambition,
  Who, headlong, to rearing of navies would run!        30
Those cancers of nations—those pits of perdition—
  Where Britain and France will alike be undone.
Far nobler the arts of our country to nourish,
  Its true independence and power to increase:
And while our resources of industry flourish,        35
  To hail the glad blessings of Freedom and Peace.
            Then Freedom and Peace, &c.
 
The storm we defy: it may roar at a distance:
  Unmoved and impregnable here we remain;
We ask not of Europe for gifts or assistance,
  But justice, good faith, and the rights of the main:        40
Should these be refused, in ourselves we’re a world!
  And those who may dare our domains to invade,
To death and destruction at once shall be hurl’d;
  For Freedom hath sworn it, and shall be obey’d!
            Then Freedom and Peace, &c.
 
We want neither emperor, king, prince, nor marshal,        45
  No navies to plunder, nor Indies to fleece;
Our honest decrees are, “To all be impartial,”
  Our orders of council, are Freedom and Peace:
But commerce, assail’d by each vile depredator,
  Our country has will’d for a while to restrain;        50
And infamy light on the head of the traitor
  Who tramples her laws for base lucre and gain.
            Then Freedom and Peace, &c.
 
Look round on your country, Columbians! undaunted,
  From Georgia to Maine—from the lakes to the sea;
Is one human blessing or luxury wanted,        55
  That flows not amongst us unmeasured and free?
Our harvests sustain half the wide eastern world;
  Our mines and our forests unexhausted remain;
What sails on our great fishing-banks are unfurl’d!
  What shoals fill our streams from the depths of the main!
            Then Freedom and Peace, &c.
        60
 
The fruits of the country, our flocks and our fleeces,
  The treasures immense in our mountains that lie,
While discord is tearing old Europe to pieces,
  Shall amply the wants of our people supply;
New roads and canals, on their bosoms conveying        65
  Refinement and wealth, through our forests shall roam;
And millions of freemen, with rapture surveying,
  Shall shout out, “O, Liberty! this is thy home!”
            Then Freedom and Peace, &c.
 
Great shades of our fathers! unconquer’d, victorious,
  To whom, under Heaven, our freedom we owe,        70
Bear witness, that Peace we revere still as glorious:
  For Peace every gain for a while we forego:
But should the huge sons of ambition and plunder,
  Should ocean’s proud scourges our liberty claim,
Your spirits shall ride in the roar of our thunder        75
  That sweeps to the gulf of perdition their name.
            Then Freedom and Peace, &c.
 
Our strength and resources defy base aggression;
  Our courage, our enterprise, both have been tried;
Our nation, unstain’d with the crimes of oppression,
  Hath Heaven’s own thunderbolts all on our side:        80
Thence henceforth let freeman with freeman be brother,
  Our peace and our liberty both to assert;
Nor ever resign up the one or the other
  For all that ambition’s proud pomp can impart.
            Then Freedom and Peace, &c.
 
 
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