AMIDST the ranks who try by different ways,
To purchase honours or to merit praise,
The GOD-LIKE MAN how rare! how few like YOU
Disinterested paths to fame pursue?
You who lavish’d sums (the fruits of peace)
To bless the present and succeeding race!
To sing your praise MY infant muse is weak,
But what SHE cannot, let this fabric speak;
Yet deign t’ accept the tribute of my lay,
For thanks is all a poet has to pay.
O may your labours with success be crown’d
And NEWARK still for lit’rature renown’d,
So shall fair science bless our happy land,
And in fame’s roll, your names immortal stand.
To Thee, most holy and most high,
To Thee we tune our grateful praise;
Thy deeds proclaim a GOD is nigh,
DEEDS of renown and wondr’ous grace!
When doom’d to wear base Slavery’s chain,
Our Land convuls’d, our danger great;
Heav’n rais’d strong Pillars to maintain
Our Liberties in Church and State.
Religion sigh’d, and Learning mourn’d,
Their Temples ruin’d or defac’d;
When God our times in mercy turn’d,
New Temples rear’d, and Schools replac’d.
See Foes abash’d, abase their pride,
And lift no more a tow’ring head;
Lay menac’d plots of Rule aside,
And own their Powers which God hath made.
Pretended claims to Blood or Birth,
Can fix no Despot on our Throne;
God, the wise Sov’reign of the Earth,
To Man, the Rights of Man makes known.
What are the World’s wide Kingdoms, Isles,
And States, but Seats of Tyrant-Sway!
COLUMBIA, where Jehovah smiles,
Shine free–more glorious far than they.
Patriots and Peers support her Cause,
Culture and Arts enrich the Field;
Wisdom inspires our equal Laws,
And free-men pleas’d, obedience yield.
This Day conven’d, Harmonious Bands!
We found a new fair Science’ name;
Hence letter’d Youth, to foreign Lands
Shall sound their Country’s growing Fame!
To Him whose Temple is all Space,
Whose Altar, Earth, Sea, Skies!
One Chorus let all Being raise
All Nature’s Incense rise!
The first poem was recited – according to the New-York Journal or General Advertiser of January 12, 1775, where it appeared in print – to the trustees of Newark Academy by an unnamed student. The Academy’s original building on the upper commons (later named Washington Park) was burned during the Revolutionary War; it would be twelve years before the school reopened in a new location at Broad and Academy Streets. The dedication of this structure (shown in the image above) was the occasion for the second piece, a hymn printed in Woods’s Newark Gazette on June 28, 1792.
During its long history the Academy moved two more times in Newark – to High and William Streets in 1857, and First and Orange Streets in 1929 – before settling at its fifth and current home in suburban Livingston.