Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
Ode to Columbia
By Edward Chapman
Written during or at the close of the last war.

COLUMBIA’S shores are wild and wide,
  Columbia’s hills are high,
And rudely planted side by side,
  Her forests meet the eye;
Yet narrow must those shores be made,        5
  And low Columbia’s hills,
And low her ancient forests laid,
  Ere Freedom leaves her fields:
For ’tis the spot where, rude and wild,
She play’d her gambols when a child.        10
The breeze that waves the mountain pine
  Is fragrant and serene,
And never clearer sun did shine
  Than lights her valleys green;
Yet putrid must those breezes blow,        15
  That sun must set in gore,
Ere footsteps of a foreign foe
  Imprint Columbia’s shore:
For, O! Columbia’s sons are free;
Their hearts beat high with Liberty.        20
Though deep and wide her streams that flow
  Impetuous to the tide,
And thick and green her laurels grow
  On every river’s side;
Yet should some transatlantic host        25
  Pollute her waters fair,
They’ll meet them on the rocky coast,
  And gather laurels there:
For, O! Columbia’s sons are brave,
And free as ocean’s wildest wave.        30
For arming boldest cuirassier,
  They’ve mines of sterling worth,
For sword and buckler, shield and spear,
  Embowell’d in the earth;
And ere Columbia’s sons resign        35
  That boon their fathers won,
The polish’d ore from every mine
  Shall glitter in the sun:
For bright’s the blade and sharp the spear
Which Freedom’s sons to battle bear.        40
Let Britain boast the deeds she’s done,
  Display her trophies bright,
And count her laurels bravely won,
  In well contested fight.
Columbia can array a band        45
  To wrest that laurel wreath,
With keener eye and steadier hand
  To strike the blow of death:
For, whether on the land or sea,
Columbia’s fight is victory.        50
Let France in blood through Europe wade,
  And in her frantic mood
In civil discord draw the blade,
  To drink her children’s blood:
Too dear the skill in arms is bought,        55
  Where kindred life-blood flows,—
Columbia’s sons are only taught
  To triumph o’er their foes,
And then to comfort, soothe, and save
The feelings of a conquer’d brave!        60
Then let Columbia’s eagle soar,
  And bear her banner high,
The thunder from her dexter pour,
  And lightning from her eye:
And when she sees from realms above,        65
  The storms of war have spent,
Descending like a meek-eyed dove,
  The olive branch present:
Then shall beauty’s hand divine
The never-withering wreath entwine.        70

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