Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
The Kentucky Volunteers
By a Lady

PROTECT them, Heaven!—My faltering tongue
  Could scarce to Heaven the prayer address,
For ah! the heart from which it sprung,
  Felt the keen pressure of distress:
It bled for friends to distance borne—        5
“Departed—never to return.”
O Freedom! must thy sacred tree
  Be nourish’d still with tears and blood?
Must our expiring kindred be
  Around thy reeking altars strew’d?        10
O, whence proceed these dire alarms—
O, why this sad appeal to arms?
Hark! through the forest’s deep recess
  Resounds the yell of savage war;
Onward the frantic legions press,        15
  And bring destruction from afar.
See yonder cot in flames ascends,
And yonder lie your butcher’d friends.
And who supplies the murderous steel?
  And who prepares the base reward,        20
That wakes to deeds of desperate zeal
  The fury of each slumbering horde?
From Britain comes each fatal blow;
From Britain, still our deadliest foe.
What! do not ocean’s wide domains        25
  Afford her sons sufficient prey?
But must they seek these distant plains,
  And bribe the savage to betray?
Yes, Freedom, here thy banners wave,
And here would Britain mark thy grave.        30
Then go, ye gallant warriors, go,
  Arrest destruction’s swift career;
In mighty vengeance crush the foe,
  And bid your hidden strength appear.
The sword which lingering justice draws        35
Will surely guard a righteous cause.
Then, Freedom, if thy sacred tree
  Must be sustain’d with tears and blood,
Perish the tyrants of the sea!
  Perish their allies of the wood!        40
But Heaven direct each patriot arm,
And shield each patriot breast from harm.
And if the hero yields his breath,
  Great God! receive his parting sigh,
And call him from the realms of death        45
  To purer mansions in the sky!
And sweetly may his ashes rest,
By all his country’s wishes blest.

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