Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
Columbia’s Champions
 
WHEN heavenly subjects, all sublime,
Demand the candid, blameless rhyme,
      I glow with fond desire:
I feel the wish, I own the will,
But want, alas! the boasted skill        5
      To raise poetic fire.
 
The bards have conquering heroes sung,
For Philip’s son the lyre was strung,
      In ancient vaunted days;
Some Marlborough and Turenne declare        10
The greater sons of later war,
      And lavish forth their praise.
 
Ah! poets, had you haply known
An age so wondrous as our own,
      Your songs might pardon’d be!        15
Columbia’s world you never knew,
Your golden age would here be true,
      Because our empire’s free.
 
Hail, sons of fame! Immortals, hail!
Who dared oppression’s rage assail,        20
      To burst the galling chain:
Resolved with Liberty to fall,
Or, if she rose, to bless us all,
      And cheer the labouring swain.
 
O Cincinnatus! could my verse        25
But half thy genuine worth rehearse,
      It would even time despise:
Then Homer’s epic song would fail,
And mine and freedom still prevail,
      Immortal to the skies.        30
 
La Fayette! who can speak his fame?
Fair Virtue brightens at his name,
      She spread for him her shield!
’Twas Heaven, in kindness to us, bore
The warrior from his native shore,        35
      To lead the embattled field.
 
The best reward the good can find,
What most delights a worthy mind,
      Is gratitude sincere:
This, great La Fayette, you shall have,        40
The patriot cool and hero brave
      Thy merits still revere.
 
What crowds of native sons appear,
Whose noble deeds illume the sphere!
      But who can name them all?        45
Their efforts join’d, they raised a dome
That rivals once imperial Rome,
      And but with time can fall.
 
 
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