Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
The Gathering of ’76
By Edward J. Porter
 
DEEP silence hung upon the air,
  And chain’d the billowy swell
Of ocean; not a breath was there
  To break its hushing spell;
When mid the forest pines that waved        5
  On mountain heights afar,
The voice of Freedom wildly raved,
  Waking the land to war.
 
And none that summons disobey’d,
  That heard its thrilling tone;        10
All, all rush’d forth in strength array’d,
  Where’er the sound had flown;
And Freedom’s banner floated high,
  While aspirations rose;
And noble hearts resolved to die,        15
  Or win the land’s repose.
 
They came; but not the pageantries
  Of gleaming helm and spear,
Nor trappings glancing through the skies,
  That courtly war-steeds wear;        20
No high baronial halls of pride
  Their knightly trains sent forth,
Nor feudal trumpets, pealing wide
  Waked chivalry to birth.
 
But Freedom’s spirit sped the call        25
  And breathed the wakening strain,
And swept the bosom chords of all,
  Nor touch’d a string in vain;
And fanning with her snowy wing
  Each fire that dormant lay,        30
Roused from its silent slumbering
  One bright, resistless ray.
 
It gleam’d upon the glowing hills,
  And forests waving wide;
It burn’d upon the glancing rills,        35
  And flush’d old ocean’s tide;
Till, like a comet’s wakening,
  Each orb had caught the glow,
And gladness shook her silver string,
  And waked proud hearts below.        40
 
They came; the resolute, the brave,
  A noble band and strong,
Impetuous as the wintry wave,
  By torrents roll’d along:
A thrill of joy each bosom burn’d,        45
  And brightly lit each eye,
And falchions flash’d, and sheaths were spurn’d,
  Their spell-word, “Liberty!”
 
But ere they left their hills afar,
  Or from their valleys rush’d,        50
Deep vows went up—their battle star,
  With Freedom’s gleamings flush’d,
Along its airy path should blaze
  In quenchless lustre bright,
Or darkness deeply veil its rays,        55
  And hide in death its light.
 
How it has risen gloriously,
  How they have dared and done,
Are tales that breathe around each tree,
  And glow each stream upon;        60
They whisper ’mong the lofty pines,
  On giant heights that wave,
Where Freedom’s wreath undying shines,
  The guerdon of the brave.
 
 
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