Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
By William Cullen Bryant (1794–1878)
WHAT heroes from the woodland sprung,
  When, through the fresh awaken’d land
The thrilling cry of freedom rung,
And to the work of warfare strung
  The yeoman’s iron hand!        5
Hills flung the cry to hills around,
  And ocean-mart replied to mart,
And streams, whose springs were yet unfound,
Peal’d far away the startling sound
  Into the forest’s heart.        10
Then march’d the brave from rocky steep,
  From mountain river swift and cold;
The borders of the stormy deep,
The vales where gather’d waters sleep,
  Sent up the strong and bold.        15
As if the very earth again
  Grew quick with God’s creating breath,
And, from the sods of grove and glen,
Rose ranks of lion-hearted men
  To battle to the death.        20
The wife, whose babe first smiled that day,
  The fair fond bride of yestereve,
And aged sire and matron gray,
Saw the loved warriors haste away,
  And deem’d it sin to grieve.        25
Already had the strife begun;
  Already blood on Concord’s plain
Along the springing grass had run,
And blood had flow’d at Lexington,
  Like brooks of April rain.        30
That death-stain on the vernal sward
  Hallow’d to freedom all the shore;
In fragments fell the yoke abhorr’d—
The footstep of a foreign lord
  Profaned the soil no more.        35

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