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Ode For General Washington's Birthday

 

 

Burns Original

Standard English Translation

 

No Spartan tube, no Attic shell,
No lyre Aeolian I awake.
'Tis Liberty's bold note I swell:
Thy harp, Columbia, let me take!
See gathering thousands, while I sing,
A broken chain, exulting, bring
And dash it in a tyrant's face,
And dare him to his very beard,
And tell him he no more is fear'd,
No more the despot of Columbia's race!
A tyrant's proudest insults brav'd,
They shout a People freed! They hail an Empire sav'd!
Where is man's godlike form?
Where is that brow erect and bold,
That eye that can unmov'd behold
The wildest rage, the loudest storm
That e'er created Fury dared to raise?
Avaunt! thou caitiff, servile, base,
That tremblest at a despot's nod,
Yet, crouching under the iron rod,
Canst laud the arm that struck th' insulting blow!
Art thou of man's Imperial line?
Dost boast that countenance divine?
Each skulking feature answers: No!
But come, ye sons of Liberty,
Columbia's offspring, brave and free,
In danger's hour still flaming in the van,
Ye know, and dare maintain, The Royalty of Man!

Alfred on thy starry throne
Surrounded by the tuneful choir,
The Bards that erst have struck the patriot lyre,
And rous'd the freeborn Briton's soul of fire,
No more thy England own!
Dare injured nations form the great design
To make detested tyrants bleed?
Thy England execrates the glorious deed!
Beneath her hostile banners waving,
Every pang of honour braving,
England in thunder calls: ' The Tyrant's cause is mine!'
That hour accurst how did the fiends rejoice,
And Hell thro' all her confines raise th' exalting voice!
That hour which saw the generous English name
Link't with such damned deeds of everlasting shame!

Thee, Caledonia, thy wild heaths among,
Fam'd for the martial deed, the heaven-taught song,
To thee I turn with swimming eyes!
Where is that soul of Freedom fled?
Immingled with the mighty dead
Beneath that hallow'd turf where Wallace lies!
Hear it not, Wallace, in thy bed of death!
Ye babbling winds, in silence sweep!
Disturb not ye the hero's sleep,
Nor give the coward secret breath!
In this the ancient Caledonian form,
Firm as her rock, resistless as her storm?
Show me that eye which shot immortal hate,
Blasting the Despot's proudest bearing!
Show me that arm which, nerv'd with thundering fate,
Braved Usurpation's boldest daring!
Dark-quench'd as yonder sinking star,
No more that glance lightens afar,
That palsied arm no more whirls on the waste of war.

 

 

No Spartan tube, no Attic shell,
No lyre Aeolian I awake.
It is Liberty's bold note I swell:
Your harp, Columbia, let me take!
See gathering thousands, while I sing,
A broken chain, exulting, bring
And dash it in a tyrant's face,
And dare him to his very beard,
And tell him he no more is feared,
No more the despot of Columbia's race!
A tyrant's proudest insults braved,
! They shout a People freed! They hail an Empire saved!
Where is man's godlike form?
Where is that brow erect and bold,
That eye that can unmoved behold
The wildest rage, the loudest storm
That ever created Fury dared to raise?
Avaunt! you caitiff, servile, base,
That trembles at a despot's nod,
Yet, crouching under the iron rod,
Can laud the arm that struck the insulting blow!
Are you of man's Imperial line?
Do you boast that countenance divine?
Each skulking feature answers: No!
But come, you sons of Liberty,
Columbia's offspring, brave and free,
In danger's hour still flaming in the van,
You know, and dare maintain, The Royalty of Man!

Alfred on your starry throne
Surrounded by the tuneful choir,
The Bards that at first have struck the patriot lyre,
And roused the freeborn Briton's soul of fire,
No more your England own!
Dare injured nations form the great design
To make detested tyrants bleed?
Your England execrates the glorious deed!
Beneath her hostile banners waving,
Every pang of honour braving,
England in thunder calls: ' The Tyrant's cause is mine!'
That hour accursed how did the fiends rejoice,
And Hell through all her confines raise the exalting voice!
That hour which saw the generous English name
Linked with such damned deeds of everlasting shame!

You, Caledonia, your wild heaths among,
Famed for the martial deed, the heaven-taught song,
To you I turn with swimming eyes!
Where is that soul of Freedom fled?
Intermingled with the mighty dead
Beneath that hallowed turf where Wallace lies!
Hear it not, Wallace, in your bed of death!
You babbling winds, in silence sweep!
Disturb not you the hero's sleep,
Nor give the coward secret breath!
In this the ancient Caledonian form,
Firm as her rock, resistless as her storm?
Show me that eye which shot immortal hate,
Blasting the Despot's proudest bearing!
Show me that arm which, nerved with thundering fate,
Braved Usurpation's boldest daring!
Dark-quenched as yonder sinking star,
No more that glance lightens afar,
That palsied arm no more whirls on the waste of war.

 

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