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Title: Ode: To be sung on Fort Greene; 4th of July 1846

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: July 2, 1846

Whitman Archive ID: per.00062

Source: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle 2 July 1846: [2]. Our transcription is based on a digital image of a microfilm copy of an original issue. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the periodical poems, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, April Lambert, and Susan Belasco

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TO BE SUNG ON FORT GREENE; 4th of July, 1846.

Tune: "Star Spangled Banner."


O, God of Columbia! O, Shield of the Free!
More grateful to you than the fanes of old story,
Must the blood-bedewed soil, the red battle-ground, be
Where our fore-fathers championed America's glory!
Then how priceless the worth of the sanctified earth,
We are standing on now. Lo! the slope of its girth
Where the Martyrs were buried: Nor prayers, tears, or stones,
Marked their crumbled-in coffins, their white, holy bones!


Say! sons of Long-Island! in legend or song,
Keep ye aught of its record, that day dark and cheerless—
That cruel of days—when, hope weak, the foe strong,
Was seen the Serene One—still faithful, still fearless,
Defending the worth, of the sanctified earth
We are standing on now, &c.


Ah, yes! be the answer. In memory still
We have placed in our hearts, and embalmed there forever!
The battle, the prison-ships, martyrs, and hill,
—O, may it be preserved till those hearts death shall sever;
For how priceless the worth, &c.


And shall not the years, as they sweep o'er and oer,
Shall they not, even here, bring the children of ages—
To exult as their fathers exulted before,
In the freedom achieved by their ancestral sages?
And the prayer rise to heaven, with pure gratitude given
And the sky by the thunder of cannon be riven?
Yea! yea! let the echo responsively roll
The echo that starts from the patriot's soul!


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