Fifty Years Ago

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Fifty Years Ago  (1826) 
by Charles Sprague
For the 4th of July, 1826.

Fifty years have rolled away,
Since that high, heroic day,
When our Fathers, in the fray,
        Struck the conquering blow!
Praise to them—the Bold who spoke;—
Praise to them—the Brave who broke
Stern Oppression's galling yoke,
        Fifty years ago!

Pour the wine of sacrifice,
Let the grateful anthem rise,—
Shall we e'er resign the prize?
        Never—never—no!
Hearts and hands shall guard those rights
Bought on Freedom's battle heights,
Where he fixed his signal lights,
        Fifty years ago!

Swear it!—by the Mighty Dead,—
Those who counseled, those who led;—
By the blood your Fathers shed,
        By your Mothers' woe;—
Swear it!—by the living few,—
Those whose breasts were scarred for you,
When to Freedom's ranks they flew,
        Fifty years ago!

By the joys that cluster round,
By our vales with plenty crowned,
By our hill-tops—holy ground,
        Rescued from the foe,—
Where of old the Indian strayed,
Where of old the Pilgrim prayed,
Where the Patriot drew his blade,
        Fifty years ago!

Should again the war-trump peal,
There shall Indian firmness seal
Pilgrim faith and patriot zeal,
        Prompt to strike the blow;—
There shall valor's work be done;
Like the Sire shall be the Son,
Where the fight was waged and won,
        Fifty years ago!