Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
On the Launching
By Philip Freneau (1752–1832)
Of the seventy-four gun ship Independence, at Charleston, near Boston

OUR trade to restore, as it stood once before,
  We have launched a new ship from the stocks,
Her rate is our first, and her force will, we trust,
  Be sufficient to humble the hawks;
The hawks of old England we mean, don’t mistake,        5
Some harpies of England our prizes we’ll make.
Independence her name, independent our minds,
  And prepared for the toils of the sea,
We are ready to combat the waves and the winds,
  And fight till the ocean is free;        10
Then away to your stations, each man on our list,
Who, when danger approaches, will never be miss’d.
In asserting our rights we have rather been slow,
  And patient till patience was tired;
We were plunder’d and press’d ere we ventured a blow,        15
  Till the world at our patience admired,
And language was held, of contempt and disgrace,
And Europe miscall’d us a pitiful race.
’Twas time to arise in the strength of our might
  When Madison publish’d the war.        20
And many have thought that he would have been right,
  Had he publish’d it three years before;
While France was unpester’d with traitors and knaves,
Nor Europe polluted with Wellington’s slaves.
To arm for our country is never too late,        25
  No fetters are yet on our feet;
Our hands are more free, and our hearts are as great
  As the best in the enemy’s fleet;
And look at the list of their navy, and think,
How many are left to burn, capture, and sink.        30
Let the nations of Europe surrender the sea,
  Or crouch at the foot of a throne;
In liberty’s soil we have planted her tree,
  And her rights will relinquish to none;
        Then stand to your arms,        35
        Then stand to your arms,
Then stand to your arms—half the battle is done;
And bravely accomplish what valour begun.
The day is approaching, a day not remote,
  A day with impatience we hail,        40
When Decatur and Hull shall again be afloat,
  And Bainbridge commission’d to sail:
To raise his blockades, will advance on the foe,
And bulwark with Bull to the bottom will go.
On the waves of Lake Erie we show’d the old brag,        45
  We, too, could advance in a line,
And batter their frigates and humble their flag;
  “I’ve met them,” said Perry, “they’re mine!”
And so, my dear boys, we can meet them again
On the waves of the sea or the waves of Champlain.        50
To the new Independence, then pour out a glass,
  And drink with the sense of a man;
She soon will be ready, this pride of her class,
  Sir Thomas 1 to meet on his plan:
He hates our torpedoes—then tease him no more,        55
Let him venture his luck with our seventy-four.
Then stand to your arms, you shall ne’er be enslaved,
Let the battle go on till the nation is saved!
Note 1. Sir Thomas Hardy, of the Ramilies 74. [back]

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