Adams and Liberty

1798—Era & Topic: John Adams

This hugely popular lyric sparked the popularity of The Anacreontic melody in the United States. It also featured a new, decorated arrangement of the tune.

1.        YE sons of Columbia, who bravely have fought,
For those rights, which unstained from your Sires had descended,
May you long taste the blessings your valour has brought,
And your sons reap the soil which their fathers defended.
        ’Mid the regin of mild Peace,
        May your nation increase,
With the glory of Rome, and the wisdom of Greece;
And ne’er shall the sons of Columbia be slaves,
While the earth bears a plant, or the sea rolls its waves.

2.        In a clime, whose rich vales feed the marts of the world,
Whose shores are unshaken by Europe’s commotion,
The trident of Commerce should never be hurled,
To incense the legitimate powers of the ocean.
        But should pirates invade,
        Though in thunder arrayed,
Let your cannon declare the free charter of trade.
For ne’er shall the sons, &c.

3.        The fame of our arms, of our laws the mild sway,
Had justly ennobled our nation in story,
’Till the dark clouds of faction obscured our young day,
And enveloped the sun of American glory.
        But let traitors be told,
        Who their country have sold,
And bartered their God for his image in gold,
That ne’er will the sons, &c.

4.        While France her huge limbs bathes recumbent in blood, 
And Society’s base threats with wide dissolution; 
May Peace like the dove, who returned from the flood, 
Find an ark of abode in our mild constitution
        But though Peace is our aim,
        Yet the boon we disclaim,
If bought by our Sov’reignty, Justice or Fame.
For ne’er shall the sons, &c.

5.        ’Tis the fire of the flint, each American warms;
Let Rome’s haughty victors beware of collision,
Let them bring all the vassals of Europe in arms,
We’re a world by ourselves, and disdain a division.
        While with patriot pride,
        To our laws we’re allied,
No foe can subdue us, no faction divide.
For ne’er shall the sons, &c.

6.        Our mountains are crowned with imperial oak;
Whose roots, like our liberties, ages have nourished;
But long e’er our nation submits to the yoke,
Not a tree shall be left on the field where it flourished.
        Should invasion impend,
        Every grove would descend,
From the hill-tops, they shaded, our shores to defend.
For ne’er shall the sons, &c.

7.        Let our patriots destroy Anarch’s pestilent worm;
Lest our Liberty’s growth should be checked by corrosion;
Then let clouds thicken round us; we heed not the storm;
Our realm fears no shock, but the earth’s own explosion.
        Foes assail us in vain,
        Though their fleets bridge the main,
For our altars and laws with our lives we’ll maintain.
For ne’er shall the sons, &c.

8.        Should the Tempest of War overshadow our land,
Its bolts could ne’er rend Freedom’s temple asunder;
For, unmoved, at its portal, would Washington stand,
And repulse, with his Breast, the assaults of the thunder!
        His sword, from the sleep
        Of its scabbard would leap,
And conduct, with its point, ev’ry flash to the deep!
For ne’er shall the sons, &c.

9.        Let Fame to the world sound America’s voice;
No intrigues can her sons from their government sever;
Her pride is her Adams; Her laws are his choice,
And shall flourish, till Liberty slumbers for ever.
        Then unite heart and hand,
        Like Leonidas’ band,
And swear to the God of the ocean and land;
That ne’er shall the sons of Columbia be slaves,
While the earth bears a plant, or the sea rolls its waves.

Adams and Liberty

Author Lyricist

Thomas Paine [later Robert Treat Paine, Jr.]

Era and Topic


Tune Identified

To Anacreon in Heaven


Commercial AdvertiserSheet Music: New York: G. Gilfert, 1798



Book Pages

63, 68, 70-77, 78, 149, 158, 194-95, 270-71

Songbook Number


Poets & Patriots Track Number

Track 11