Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
Arrival of General La Fayette
By Robert Stevenson Coffin (1797–1827)
 
          “The illustrious benefactor of America, the soldier, patriot, and statesman of our Revolution, the bosom friend and companion in arms of the immortal Washington, the steadfast friend of liberty all over the world, has come in his old age, and full of honours, to the country of his youthful glory, to witness its greatness and renown, to receive the congratulations of his surviving compatriots, and to become the guest of the nation; the guest of ten millions of grateful freemen. Welcome, La Fayette! It is a nation’s voice that bids thee welcome; but breathed by none in such harmonious strains of grateful feeling as by the poor but gifted bard, whose glowing numbers we must again repeat.”—New York Statesman.

HAIL, patriot, statesman, hero, sage;
  Hail, freedom’s friend! hail, Gallia’s son,
Whose laurels greener grow in age,
  Pluck’d by the side of Washington!
Hail, champion in a holy cause,        5
  When hostile bands our shores beset;
Whose valour bade the oppressor pause—
  Hail, hoary warrior, LA FAYETTE!
 
Forever welcome to the shore,
  A youthful chief, thy footsteps press’d;        10
And dauntless want and peril bore,
  Till veni vici deck’d thy crest!
Forever welcome, great and good!
  Till freedom’s sun on earth shall set,
The still small voice of gratitude        15
  Shall bless the name of LA FAYETTE.
 
What monarch of despotic power,
  Who fain would crush the freeborn brave,
Whose glory gilds a tottering tower,
  Himself a subject and a slave;        20
Would not, to view a nation’s eyes
  With joyous drops unbidden wet,
The pageantry of pride despise,
  And grasp the hand of LA FAYETTE?
 
Whene’er the lips of youth inquire        25
  The path to virtue, honour, fame;
To glory’s temple proud aspire,
  While warmly glows the ardent flame;
The voice of age shall fearless tell
  What perils oft its path beset,        30
And prompt them onward by a spell
  That urged the soul of LA FAYETTE.
 
And when the shades of death shall close
  Forever round thy hallow’d head,
We’ll seek the place of thy repose,        35
  By filial love and duty led:
And hearts that beat in bosoms free,
  (Gems by unerring wisdom set,)
The living monument shall be
  Of freedom’s champion, LA FAYETTE.        40
 
 
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