Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
To Liberty
HAIL, sacred Liberty! to thee we owe
What’s good or great upon this scene below!
O! Heaven’s first gift! which, since the world began,
Hast in some climate still defended man;
And whilst politer nations were enslaved,        5
Hast dwelt with savages, from thraldom saved.
Amidst commotions not unknown to fame,
Which nations freed and crush’d the Roman name.
Had thy bright flame extended ’mongst mankind,
By tyrants they’d have scorn’d to be confined:        10
But long the yoke supported, scarce deceit
That slaves required, to light the ignoble weight;
Dark ignorance, which slavery ever brings,
Delusion swallow’d, and created kings;
And such, alas! of mankind was the lot,        15
That from old tyrants freed, they new ones got;
Then on fair Albion’s shores you sought applause,
And sometimes glimmer’d midst the feudal laws;
Faint glimmering of that great, that noble fire,
Which since has spread, and all her sons inspire;        20
Type of that greatness, which, to fame alive,
Check’d crowned influence and prerogative:
Which from their seats tyrannic sovereigns hurl’d,
And spread thy glories to the admiring world.
Emblem of thee, long had Great Britain stood,        25
And spread thy banners o’er thy briny flood;
Among her sons, who, when oppress’d, had fled,
And here with laurels crown’d thy worshipp’d head.
How could the parent slavery despise,
Who o’er her children wish’d to tyrannize?        30
This Britain did, and on that luckless day
She lost her sons, transferr’d thy brightest ray.
Here now, bright Goddess! with true lustre shine,
Whilst we, unceasing, own thy pow’r divine;
And following thy sacred laws, may we        35
Or live in freedom, or else cease to be!

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