The song "Hail, Columbia" was once the de facto unofficial national anthem of the United States.

“Hail, Columbia”, an Unofficial American National Anthem

The song “Hail, Columbia” is one of several songs once considered an unofficial national anthem of the United States.[1]

Although it was unofficial, the song was used as the de facto national anthem up until 1931 when “the Star-Spangled Banner” officially became the national anthem of the United States of America.

When glooms obscured Columbia’s day,
His steady mind, from changes free,
Resolved on death or liberty.

Hail Columbia! with Lyrics; First American National Anthem – United States of America.

Where Does the Term Columbia Come From?

Columbia refers to Christopher Columbus. Although the New World was long referred to the Americas (named after Amerigo Vespucci) Columbia had sometimes been used as a romantic name for the United States of America (especially in prose in the 18th and 19th century).

FACT: Before she was replaced by Lady Liberty, Lady Columbia was the national icon of the United States. In both cases this is the American version of the Goddess of Liberty (like Athena). Learn more about the term Columbia and emblems of Civil Religion.

The Lyrics to Hail, Columbia

Here are the lyrics to our once unofficial national anthem (it is sung with a “mozarty” sort of melody and can be sung as a solo, duet, or chorus):

Hail Columbia, happy land!
Hail, ye heroes, heav’n-born band,
Who fought and bled in freedom’s cause,
Who fought and bled in freedom’s cause,
And when the storm of war was gone
Enjoy’d the peace your valor won.
Let independence be our boast,
Ever mindful what it cost;
Ever grateful for the prize,
Let its altar reach the skies.

Chorus
Firm, united let us be,
Rallying round our liberty,
As a band of brothers joined,
Peace and safety we shall find.

Immortal patriots, rise once more,
Defend your rights, defend your shore!
Let no rude foe, with impious hand,
Let no rude foe, with impious hand,
Invade the shrine where sacred lies
Of toil and blood, the well-earned prize,
While off’ring peace, sincere and just,
In Heaven’s we place a manly trust,
That truth and justice will prevail,
And every scheme of bondage fail.

Chorus
Firm, united let us be,
Rallying round our liberty,
As a band of brothers joined,
Peace and safety we shall find.

Behold the chief who now commands,
Once more to serve his country stands.
The rock on which the storm will break,
The rock on which the storm will break,
But armed in virtue, firm, and true,
His hopes are fixed on Heav’n and you.
When hope was sinking in dismay,
When glooms obscured Columbia’s day,
His steady mind, from changes free,
Resolved on death or liberty.

Chorus
Firm, united let us be,
Rallying round our liberty,
As a band of brothers joined,
Peace and safety we shall find.

Sound, sound the trump of fame,
Let Washington’s great name
Ring through the world with loud applause,
Ring through the world with loud applause,
Let ev’ry clime to freedom dear,
Listen with a joyful ear,
With equal skill, with God-like pow’r
He governs in the fearful hour
Of horrid war, or guides with ease
The happier time of honest peace.

Chorus
Firm, united let us be,
Rallying round our liberty,
As a band of brothers joined,
Peace and safety we shall find.



Conclusion

Although it was never an official national anthem, “Hail, Columbia” was long used as the de facto national anthem of the United States.


Citations

  1. Hail, Columbia


"“Hail, Columbia” was an Unofficial National Anthem of the United States." is tagged with: Liberty, United States of America


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