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The Weblog at The View from the Core - Fri. 07/04/08 09:20:16 AM

Independence Day 2008

Defense of Fort McHenry

O! say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
   What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
   O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
      And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
      Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there—
         O! say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
         O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
   Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze o'er the towering steep,
   As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
      Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
      In full glory reflected now shines on the stream—
         'Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave
         O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
   That the havock of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
   Their blood has wash'd out their foul foot-steps' pollution.
      No refuge could save the hireling and slave,
      From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave;
         And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
         O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

O! thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
   Between their lov'd home, and the war's desolation,
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
   Praise the power that hath made and preserv'd us a nation!
      Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
      And this be our motto—"In God is our trust!"
         And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
         O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

Francis Scott Key (1779-1843) 1814

Battle-Hymn of the Republic

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fatal lightning of his terrible swift sword:
   His Truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps;
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps.
   His Day is marching on.

I have read a fiery gospel, writ in burnished rows of steel:
"As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
   Since God is marching on."

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before his judgment-seat:
Oh! be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet!
   Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me:
As he died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
   While God is marching on.

Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910) 1861

America the Beautiful

O beautiful for spacious skies,
   For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
   Above the fruited plain!
      America! America!
   God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
   From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
   Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
   Across the wilderness!
      America! America!
   God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
   Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
   In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
   And mercy more than life!
      America! America!
   May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness,
   And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
   That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
   Undimmed by human tears!
      America! America!
   God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
   From sea to shining sea!

Katharine Lee Bates (1859-1929) 1893

American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century (1993), ed. John Hollander; Volume One, pp. 46f, 709f; Volume Two, pp. 522f.

P.S. I noticed today, July 14th, that these same three poems are presented in the same order to conclude the section "A Sampler of Hymns, Spirituals and Songs" in The Treasury of American Poetry, ed. Nancy Sullivan, pp. 298ff.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Fri. 07/04/08 09:20:16 AM
Categorized as Historical & Literary.


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