Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
National Maturity
FIRM spirit and nerve to free nations belong,
Provoked into combat by insolent wrong:
If Europe will doubt it, invading this shore,
We’ll act as our fathers have acted before.
Their virtue and valour our greatness began,        5
Most solidly built on the fair “Rights of Man!”
Deaf alike to tyrannical menace or lure,
Their arm was exalted, their system was pure.
In vain to such minds did the future unfold
Privation and hazard to stagger the bold;        10
They paused at no danger, well counting the cost,
Nor tamper’d with peril till safety was lost:
Unflinching saw army on army display’d,
Cause cowards to falter, and traitors to aid:
A chief and his heroes, all staunch in the cause,        15
Defeated the foe, and establish’d our laws.
Such glorious deeds graced the national morn,
That soon as the child Independence was born,
He rose a young Hercules, stronger by strife,
And strangled the snakes that attempted his life!        20
What our fathers could wrest from a step-mother wild,
When gristle alone braced the national child:
Now the stout bone of union connects every joint,
Their sons can maintain at the bayonet’s point.

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