Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
Song—1776: ‘The day is broke; my boys, push on’
From the National Gazette

          Messrs. Editors,—While on a visit to a highly respectable patriot and soldier of the Revolution, Mr. Jesse Moore, of Hopewell, N. J., who is now in his eighty-ninth year, I spoke of some songs of the Revolutionary period that appeared not long since in your gazette, and asked Mr. Moore if he recollected any thing of the kind being sung during his campaigns; he said he often sung an old song to his little niece, of which he then recited a verse or two, with the chorus. He searched for and found the manuscript, dated December 26th, 1776, the time of the surrender of the Hessians to General Washington, at Trenton; which circumstance probably gave rise to the song. Threescore and two years had faded the ink, and the copy was otherwise mutilated; but by the help of his memory I made out the lines below, which, as they seem to breathe something of the spirit of that time of trial, you may, agreeably to the request of one of your correspondents, deem worthy of insertion.
  This worthy old soldier, although fully entitled to receive a pension, would only consent to receive a few dollars, and this only for the gratification of having his name enrolled among the long list of worthies on the pension-list. When his services were no longer needed, he resumed his implements of carpentry, “his musket carefully laid by,” and, with the blessing of Providence on his diligence, is enabled to spend the evening of his days in affluence and comfort. He says his country is welcome to his services; he has enjoyed, through a long life, the boon for which he fought, and lived to see her unprecedented prosperity.

THE DAY is broke; my boys, push on,
And follow, follow Washington,
    ’Tis he that leads the way,
    ’Tis he that leads the way;
When he commands, we will obey,        5
Through rain or snow, by night or day,
    Determined to be free,
    Determined to be free.
Kind Providence our troops inspires
With more than Greek or Roman fires,        10
    Until our cause prevails,
    Until our cause prevails.
Heaven has favour’d a virtuous few,
The tyrant’s legions to subdue;
    For justice never fails,        15
    For justice never fails.
With heart and hand, and God our trust,
We’ll freely fight—our cause is just.
    Push on, my boys, push on,
    Push on, my boys, push on!        20
Till Freedom reigns, our hearty bands
Will fight like true Americans,
    And follow, follow Washington,
    And follow, follow Washington.

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