Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
Ode: ‘Not two ages yet have fled’
Sung at the Republican Festival in Boston, on the 4th of July, 1803

Tune—“President’s March”

NOT two ages yet have fled,
Since, by holy fervour led,
When loud danger shriek’d alarm,
And Intolerance rear’d her arm,
Urged by Hope, and mark’d by Fame,        5
To these shores our fathers came.
Here, content each ill to brave,
Peace and liberty to save.
See, from clouds their spirits bend!
Hear the sacred charge they send!        10
  By yon orb of living light,
  Swear to guard your native right;
  Sooner let it cease to shine,
  Than your liberties resign!
But in vain did Freedom glow,        15
Not to them that boon we owe:
They, across the spreading main,
Dragg’d the tyrant’s lengthen’d chain;
And a century saw them still
Subjects to a despot’s will;        20
Till, at last, the goddess rose,
Proud from iterated woes—
’Tis her form each breast inflames,
’Tis her voice that yet exclaims,
  By yon orb, &c.
Then, to save from anarch’s storm,        25
Who the shield of truth should form?
Who with dauntless brow would stand,
Meet oppression’s crushing hand,
Claim our rights, our wrongs declare,
And each shaft of malice dare?        30
Jefferson—in virtue tried,
Now a grateful people’s guide;
Brave as learn’d, and wise as brave,
This the precept that he gave:
  By yon orb, &c.
O’er the gloomy breast of night        35
Cynthia sheds her tranquil light;
So, to dark, inveterate foes
Mild and pure his language flows.
Far along the morning sky,
Swift the rays of Phœbus fly,        40
So, with fire and force combined,
Darts the splendour of his mind.
Form’d base faction to appal,
Thus his heaven-taught accents fall:
  By yon orb, &c.
While Columbia’s favourite son,        45
Soul-directed Washington,
Led his heroes to the field,
Teaching haughty power to yield.
Jefferson, in council great,
Penn’d the charter of the state.        50
On this day each heart be bless’d,
Every care of life suppress’d:
Glory’s garland, Freedom’s lay,
Crown Columbia’s natal day!
  By yon orb of living light,        55
  We swear to guard our native right:
  Sooner shall it cease to shine
  Than our liberties decline.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.