Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
Ode: ‘Once more has the morn oped the portals of light’
By Walter Townsend
 
For the Fourth of July, 1803

ONCE more has the morn oped the portals of light,
Dispell’d the dark shades of the sable-clad night,
      And brought the illustrious day
That marks the great epoch, when Liberty’s sun
Arose on our realms, when oppression was done,        5
And Freedom, victorious, her empire begun,
      And Tyranny’s powers fled away.
 
Then let us exult: let each heart beat with joy!
Bid care smooth his brow, nor let sadness annoy:
      For Heaven its blessings still pours.        10
As from the mild south rolls the monarch of day,
When tempests and darkness have long held the sway,
Creation revives, and all nature looks gay,
      So Freedom rejoices our shores.
 
Behold, what a prospect salutes the charm’d eye,        15
When, from some high summit, around we descry
      The hills, and the valleys, and plains—
There, Ceres, far-spreading, her bounties displays;
Pomona here blushes, high on the bent sprays;
While o’er the rich pastures the flocks and herds graze,        20
      And plenty with happiness reigns.
 
Extend but the view, and the spires mount in air,
And cities rise, graceful, where growl’d the rude bear,
      And forests spread frightfully round;
While o’er the wide ocean the white swelling sails,        25
Our commerce bears stately, where’er the fleet gales
Refresh the scorch’d line, or where winter prevails,
      With death, in bleak tempest, abound.
 
Religion, bright seraph, immortal, here reigns;
And fell superstition recedes, with his chains,        30
      To regions enveloped in shade;
Where science, which here its full splendour displays,
Scarce gleams through the darkness with eventide rays—
Where millions, in bondage, still grope for their ways,
      And tyranny’s sceptre is sway’d.        35
 
Here learning and art raise their votaries to fame;
And genius and beauty their eulogy claim,
      Of merit, intrinsic, possess’d:
Where knowledge adorns whom the graces have crown’d;
And prudence and virtue with sweetness are found,        40
To rear the young offspring that prattle around,
      And render the marriage state bless’d.
 
These are the blessings from freedom that spring;
That make the land smile, and the labourer sing,
      Whom no haughty lordling enslaves:        45
For these we braved death when war frown’d o’er our head,
Our fields swam in blood, which pale corses o’erspread,
And widows and orphans, deprived of their bread,
      In sorrow sunk into their graves.
 
But now the loud trumpet no more calls to arms;        50
No longer the thunder of battle alarms;
      Nor carnage encrimsons the plain:
Let not civil discord our nation embroil,
And tarnish the glory we gain’d by our toil;
But prudence, with firmness, the efforts still foil.        55
      Of Faction, to vex our domain.
 
May Wisdom and Justice still strengthen our cause;
Preside in our councils, and dictate our laws;
      And union, with knowledge, increase;
May virtue reign victor till vice have an end;        60
Religion, triumphant, her precepts defend;
And peace o’er our realms her white banners extend,
      Till wars through the universe cease.
 
 
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