Free America
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Lesley Nelson-Burns

These words are by Dr. Joseph Warren, of Boston. Warren was one of the original Minute Men. Warren was Chairman of the Committee of Safety in Boston in 1775 and the man who sent Paul Revere to Lexington to warn John Adams and John Hancock of the British advance, setting Revere off on his famous ride. Warren was commissioned a Major General by the Massachusetts Provincial Congress and was killed in the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Warren set the words to the English song British Grenadiers. The origin of that tune is unknown and variants have become popular several times. The commonly known words cannot predate 1678, as that was when the regiment was created. William Chappell's Popular Music of the Olden Time places the tune in the Elizabethan era, but notes that the current words and music for British Grenadiers were found on a manuscript of the 18th century.

That seat of science Athens,
And earth's proud mistress, Rome,
Where now are all their glories
We scarce can find a tomb.
Then guard your rights, Americans,
Nor stoop to lawless sway,
Oppose, oppose, oppose, oppose
For North America.

Proud Albion bow'd to Caesar,
And numerous lords before,
To Picts, to Danes, to Normans,
And many masters more;
But we can boast Americans
Have never fall'n a prey,
Huzza, huzza, huzza, huzza
For Free America.

We led fair Freedom hither,
And lo, the desert smiled,
A paradise of pleasure
New opened in the wild;
Your harvest, bold Americans,
No power shall snatch away,
Preserve, preserve, preserve your rights
In Free America.

Torn from a world of tyrants
Beneath this western sky
We formed a new dominion,
A land of liberty;
The world shall own we're freemen here,
And such will ever be,
Huzza, huzza, huzza, huzza
For love and liberty.

God bless this maiden climate,
And through her vast domain
May hosts of heroes cluster
That scorn to wear a chain.
And blast the venal sycophants
Who dare our rights betray;
Assert yourselves, yourselves, yourselves
For brave America,

Lift up your hearts, my heroes,
And swear with proud disdain,
The wretch that would ensnare you
Shall spread his net in vain;
Should Europe empty all her force,
We'd meet them in array,
And shout huzza, huzza, huzza
For brave America.

The land where freedom reigns shall still
Be masters of the main,
In giving laws and freedom
To subject France and Spain;
And all the isles o'er ocean spread
Shall tremble and obey,
The prince who rules by Freedom's laws
In North America.

Related Links
  • Joseph Warren
  • The Paul Revere House with:
  • Battle of Bunker Hill
  • Intelligence in the War of Independence
  • From
    One Hundred Songs of England,
    Burl Ives Songbook and Popular Music of the Olden Time
    See Bibliography for full information.
    And from Digital Tradition