Chester by William Billings became a  popular anthem during the American Revolution. Chester and Yankee Doodle were probably the most popular songs during the American Revolution.   Billings was an American composer born in Boston in 1746. He is considered one of the foremost early American composers. Billings also penned David’s Lamination, a song that is still popular in Sacred Harp signings.

In my opinion, musically it is a stronger song than The Star-Bangled Banner. I couldn’t find a video of the Chester that I liked but did find William Schuman’s Chester Overture for Band preformed by the Texas A&M University Wind Symphony (Whoop!!).

Let tyrants shake their iron rod
And slav’ry clang her galling chains;

We’ll fear them not. We trust in God;
New England’s God forever rains.
Howe and Burgoyne and Clinton, too
With Prescott and Cornwallis join’d,
Together plot our overthrow,

In one infernal league combined.
When God inspired us for the fight
Their lines were broke, their lines were forc’d,
Their ships were shelter’d in our sight

The foe comes on with haughty stride,
Or swiftly driven from our coast.
Their vet’rans flee before our youth
Our troops advance with martial noise.

And generals yield to beardless boys.
What shall we render to the Lord?
What grateful offerings shall we bring,
And praise his name on every chord.
Loud hallelujahs let us sing

One thought on “Chester: An Early American Anthem

  1. Possible it could be considered to change the names of the English generals to our current leadership and bring back this song.


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