Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
War Song of Seventy-Six
By Frederick William Thomas (1806–1866)
FREEMEN! arise, and keep your vow!
  The foe are on our shore,
And we must win our freedom now,
  Or yield forevermore.
The share will make a goodly glaive—        5
  Then tear it from the plough!
Lingers there here a crouching slave?
  Depart, a recreant thou!
Depart, and leave the field to those
  Determined to be free,        10
Who burn to meet their vaunting foes
  And strike for liberty.
Why did the pilgrim cross the wave?
  Say, was he not your sire?
And shall the liberty he gave        15
  Upon his grave expire?
The stormy wave could not appal;
  Nor where the savage trod;
He braved them all, and conquer’d all,
  For freedom and for God.        20
We fight for fireside and for home,
  For heritage, for altar;
And, by the God of yon blue dome,
  Not one of us shall falter?
We’ll guard them, though the foeman stood        25
  Like sand-grains on our shore,
And raise our angry battle-flood,
  And whelm the despots o’er.
We’ve drawn the sword, and shrined the sheath
  Upon our fathers’ tomb;        30
And when the foe shall sleep in death,
  We’ll sheath it o’er their doom.
Firm be your step, steady your file,
  Unbroken your array:
The spirits of the blest shall smile        35
  Upon our deeds to-day.
Unfurl the banner of the free
  Amidst the battle’s cloud;
Its folds shall wave to Liberty,
  Or be to us a shroud.        40
O’er those who fall, the soldier’s tear
  Exulting shall be shed;
We’ll bear them upon honour’s bier,
  To sleep in honour’s bed.
The maiden, with her hurried breath        45
  And rapture-beaming eye,
Shall all forget the field of death
  To bless the victory.
The child, O! he will bless his sire,
  The mother bless her son,        50
And God, He will not frown in ire,
  When such a field is won.

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