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Let Tyrants Shake Their Iron Rod

We held our Independence Day singing at my apartment, the last singing I will host until September. I made a different kind of peppermint cookie, one that uses fresh chopped-up mint and kind of looks like a pot cookie but isn't, and I also made a Fourth of July Velvet Cake, which is just a layer of red velvet cake on top of a layer of blue velvet cake all covered with white frosting.

We sang all the Independence Day or America-themed songs we could think of, though we didn't quite get to "The American Star," which is fine because we don't actually know it all that well. We were asked to sing "Ode on Science," which goes fiendishly high for the tenors, but all is redeemed when you get to the text "The British yoke, the Gallic chain / was urged upon our necks in vain / All haughty tyrants we disdain / And sing "Long live America!" Which properly ought to be pronounced in the old style, Ameri-kay, to rhyme with "laurels of immortal day" in the preceding stanza.

We also indulged ourselves and sang "Chester" with the original text. This song was Number Two on the Revolutionary War Hit Parade ("Yankee Doodle" was Number One), and it missed becoming our national anthem only because it specified New England's God in the first stanza:

1. Let tyrants shake their iron rod
And slav'ry clank her galling chains
We fear them not; we trust in God
New England's God forever reigns.

2. Howe and Burgoyne and Clinton, too,
With Prescott and Cornwallis joined,
Together plot our overthrow,
In one infernal league combined.

3. When God inspired us for the fight
Their ranks were broke; their lines were forced
Their ships were shattered in our sight
Or swiftly driven from our shore.

4. The foe comes on with haughty stride
Our troops advance with martial noise
Their veterans flee before our youth
And generals yield to beardless boys.

5. What grateful off'ring shall we bring,
What shall we render to the Lord?
Loud hallelujahs let us sing,
And praise his name on ev'ry chord!

The text is printed in the Norumbega Harmony, which I have, so I lined out all the verses. We don't usually sing five verses even at the Thursday night events, but this was a special occasion.

Then I went and saw fireworks at a friend's house. Life is good.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
lcohen
Jul. 4th, 2008 04:23 am (UTC)
i'm sorry i missed it and glad to read of it. but all the nice at home time was a really good thing.

have a wonderful trip!
frenchpony
Jul. 4th, 2008 05:15 am (UTC)
Having a choice between two good things is a pretty nice situation to be in. Either way, you win.

And don't worry, you'll probably see me again before I leave. I fly to Connecticut on the 18th.
jelazakazone
Jul. 4th, 2008 01:18 pm (UTC)
Oooh, very nice! Maybe I'll have to lead Ode to Science (as if...). We have our sing tomorrow.
frenchpony
Jul. 4th, 2008 01:23 pm (UTC)
Yes, well, good luck with that. "Ode to Science" isn't exactly a piece of (red velvet) cake. But the final section is fun.
meggins
Jul. 4th, 2008 01:49 pm (UTC)
Never mind "New England's God," the lyrics to "Chester" are pretty martial. (Makes me think of that there French anthem with its armed citizens and all.)

*wonders why she's never heard of blue velvet cake before* It seems so obvious, now that I think of it.
frenchpony
Jul. 4th, 2008 01:59 pm (UTC)
the lyrics to "Chester" are pretty martial

So is "The Star-Spangled Banner," also written to commemorate a war. And, come to think of it, "The Star-Spangled Banner" was only adopted as the national anthem during the patriotic build-up to WWI. We didn't have a national anthem before that.

*wonders why she's never heard of blue velvet cake before*

Probably because the name "red velvet" evokes such a specific image. And also because red dye works better on cake batter than blue dye does. Most cake batter bases have a faint yellow tinge from the eggs, so the blue dye inevitably comes out with a mild undertone of green. But people who are served the cake tend to get the basic idea.

I once made a green velvet cake for St. Patrick's Day. That was fun.
elliska
Jul. 4th, 2008 10:55 pm (UTC)
Sounds like a great way to celebrate the Fourth, especially given how hot its been (inside singing is better than outside sweating!).
frenchpony
Jul. 5th, 2008 01:27 am (UTC)
The weather has cooled off quite a bit here, which was nice for going to the 53rd St. Independence Day community picnic. And for singing at my place, which is a fourth-floor apartment without air conditioning.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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