Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July

The American Flag

When Freedom from her mountain height

Unfurled her standard to the air

She tore the azure robe of night

And set the stars of glory there!

She mingled with its gorgeous dyes

The milky baldric of the skies,

And striped its pure celestial white

With streakings of the morning light;

Then, from his mansion in the sun,

She called her eagle-bearer down,

And gave into his mighty hand,

The symbol of her chosen land.

Flag of the brave! thy folds shall fly

The sign of hope and triumph high!

When speaks the signal-trumpet tone

And the long line comes gleaming on.

Ere yet the life-blood, warm and wet,

Has dimmed the glistening bayonet

Each soldier eye shall brightly turn

To where thy sky-born glories burn,

And as his springing steps advance,

Catch war and vengeance from the glance;

And when the cannon-mouthings loud

Heaven in wild wreaths the battle-shroud

And gory sabers rise and fall,

Like shoots of flame on midnight's pall;

Then shall thy meteor-glances glow,

And cowering foes shall sink beneath

Each gallant arm that strikes below

That lovely messenger of death.

Flag of the seas! on ocean wave

Thy stars shall glitter o'er the brave;

When death. careening on the gale,

Sweeps darkly round the bellied sail,

And frighted waves rush wildly back

Before the broadside's reeling rack,

Each dying wanderer of the sea

Shall look at once to heaven and thee.

And smile to see thy splendors fly

In triumph o'er his closing eye.

Flag of the free heart's hope and home,

By angel hands to valor given!

Thy stars have lit the welkin dome,

And all thy hues were born in heaven.

Forever float that standard sheet!

Where breathes the foe but falls before us,

When Freedom's soil beneath our feet,

And Freedom's banner streaming o'er us!"

Joseph Rodman Drake

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