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This song written by William Billings, an American composer. Chester was included by Billings in a book of songs he published in 1770. The book, The New England Psalm Singer, was the first collection of sacred music composed entirely by an American. The original song, as published in 1770, contained only the first verse. The song was sung by battle weary soldiers around their campfires, and for that reason it has been called the "Over There" of the American Revolutionary War.
When William Billings published his book, The Singing Master's Assistant in 1778, he included the following set of lyrics, which caused it to become a popular war song.
Let tyrants shake their iron rod, And slav'ry clank her galling chains,
We'll fear them not; ~ we trust in God, New England's God for ever reigns.
Howe and Burgoyne and Clinton, too. With Prescott and Cornwallis join'd,
Together plot our overthrow, In one infernal league combin'd.
When God inspired us for the fight, Their ranks were broke, their lines were forc'd,
Their Ships were Shatter'd in our sight, Or swiftly driven from our Coast.
The Foe comes on with haughty Stride, Our troops advance with martial noise,
Their Vet'rans flee before our Youth, And Gen'rals yield to beardless boys.
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.
Note: The midi file that is linked to this page was sequenced by Barry Taylor, whose website is located at: http://www.contemplator.com/tunebook/index.htm