“Independence Day” (from Robert Merry’s Museum, July 1863; p. 26)
Independence Day has come;
Raise the banner, beat the drum;
Fill the air with song and shout,
Let the cannon’s voice ring out.
’Tis the day of Freedom’s birth
On the fairest spot of earth.
Let her happy children meet,
And her glorious fame repeat:
Tell how wrong oppressed her sires,
Till Freedom lit her battle fires;
Sing her triumphs when the foe
Vainly struck with cruel blow.
But, hark! A wailing cry of pain
Is borne along o’er hill and plain;
A muffled echo from the past
Yet lingers on the Southern blast,
Telling of hopeless years,
Of unavailing tears,
Of sadness ’mid all joy,
Of toil without alloy.
In Freedom’s chosen place
Grew up on an outcast race;
Proud men denied her boon
To children of the sun;
They used the strength she gave
To manacle the slave;
Grew haughty in their might,
Spurned the demands of right,
And sought with daring hand
To reign in Freedom’s land.
But, list again! a shout!
A crash! a thunder out
From cannon’s blazing mouth
The treason of the South.
From Sumter’s battered walls
The flag of freedom falls!
But from the steadfast North
The echoing wrath bursts forth;
Swift rolls the swelling tide along,
“Union!” the mighty shout and song;
And onward march the stalwart brave,
Their country’s glorious life to save,
With step unfaltering on they come—
Each heart beats like a rolling drum.
Now Freedom lifts her banner high,
And gives a glorious battle-cry;
The Stars and Stripes shall ever wave,
Nor ’neath their folds remain a slave.
Ay! raise the banner, beat the drum,
The day of Liberty has come.
Though strife still rages, God is just,
And Freedom’s foes shall bite the dust.