The National Music of America - online book

The Sources & Factors Influential In Forming America's Music.

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The National Music of A merica. 191
"Adams and Liberty" was, however, not broad enough for a permanent national hymn.1 It underwent changes enough to prove that all Americans were familiar with the tune of the old English drinking-song. In 1813 it appeared in a Patriotic Songster in Phila-
1 There is an odd story connected with one of the verses of " Adams and Liberty." In the early days of our RepubĀ­lic it was customary to speak of General Washington in every patriotic poem or song. To give a national hymn without mentioning the Father of his Country was like presenting " Hamlet" without Hamlet. Paine, in his poem, thinking only of the President of that time, Adams, had omitted to introduce the name of the chief national hero. Major Benjamin Russell, of the Columbian Cen-tinel (Boston), determined that the omission should be rectified. He, therefore, invited Mr. Paine to a dinner, and when he entered the house caused him to be locked in a room. He shouted over the transom, " You will find pen, ink, and paper on the table," explained the flaw in his song, and told him that he should only come to table after the necessary verse had been completed. Under the spur of this necessity, Mr. Paine wrote the stanza beginĀ­ning, " Should the Tempest of War overshadow our land;" a verse not inspired by wine, but by the want of it. This must, however, have occurred before the printing of the poem, for all the early editions to which the author has had access contain the verse in question.
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