Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
Ode: ‘Wide o’er the wilderness of waves’
 
Written for, and sung at the Anniversary of the American Independence, July 4, 1806

Tune—“Whilst happy in my native land”

WIDE o’er the wilderness of waves,
  Untrack’d by human peril,
Our fathers roam’d for peaceful graves,
  To deserts dark and sterile.
No parting pang, no long adieu        5
  Delay’d their gallant daring;
With them, their gods and country too,
  Their pilgrim keels were bearing.
All hearts unite the patriot band:
Be liberty our natal land.        10
 
Their dauntless hearts no meteor led,
  In terror o’er the ocean;
From fortune and from man they fled,
  To Heaven and its devotion.
Fate cannot bend the high-born mind        15
  To bigot usurpation;
They, who had left a world behind,
  Now gave that world a nation.
 
The soil to till, to freight the sea,
  By valour’s arm protected,        20
To plant an empire brave and free,
  Their sacred views directed:
But more they fear’d than tyrants’ yoke
  Insidious faction’s fury;
For oft a worm destroys an oak,        25
  Whose leaf that worm would bury.
 
Thus rear’d, our giant realm arose,
  And claim’d our sovereign charter;
Her life-blood warm from Adams rose,
  And all her sons from Sparta.        30
Be free, Columbia! proudest name
  Fame’s herald wafts in story;
Be free, thou youngest child of Fame;
  Rule, brightest heir of glory!
 
Thy Preble, mid the battle’s ire,        35
  Hath Afric’s towers dejected:
And Lybia’s sands have flash’d with fire,
  From Eaton’s sword reflected.
Thy groves, which erst the hill or plain
  Entrench’d from savage plunder,        40
To Naiads turn’d, must cleave the main,
  And sport with Neptune’s thunder.
 
 
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