Ode. For the Fiftieth Anniversary of Independence, July 4, 1826


Bring to this high and holy rite
A spirit worthy of our sires:
Still may their zeal, a guiding light,
Inform us with its noblest fires!
This the day that saw them rise
Bright, in glory, to the skies.

Then came they forth, a nation new,
To kindle and to warn a world;
Then high to heaven their eagle flew;
Defiance on their foe they hurled.
Britons dared not call them slaves, —
Freedom flourished on their graves.

Be round us now, a sacred band;
Assist us, at the shrine ye raised;
Go forth to animate our land,
Bright as at first your valor blazed.
Fathers, heroes, you we call;
May your spirit grace us all.

Look down from that sublime abode,
Where now ye sit in high repose;
Fair are the battle-fields ye trod;
No more the tide of slaughter flows.
Welcome, Peace! the boon is due,
Full and glorious, all to you.

A few, an aged few remain,
Your brethren in the war of death;
Their presence — be it not in vain —
It stirs us with a quickening breath.
Let us emulate our sires, —
Let us cherish long their fires.

O, gladly beats the veteran's heart
To hail this holiest Jubilee;
Theirs was the noblest, proudest part,
The toils that set a nation free.
Now those generous toils are done;
Liberty and peace are won.

The flame that warmed and waked their souls,
Burns like a beacon on our hills;
Through all our favored land it rolls;
Bright is the heart it fires and fills.
Still the watch-word sounds, — be free:
Still 't is Death or Liberty.

Then close this high and holy rite
With honor to the wise and brave;
The men who dared the field of fight
Their homes to bless, their land to save.
Now to those who fought and fell,
Bid the lofty chorus swell.
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