Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
1481. Under the Stars
 
By Wallace Rice
 
 
TELL me what sail the seas
Under the stars?
Ships, and ships’ companies,
  Off to the wars.
 
Steel are the ship’s great sides,        5
  Steel are her guns,
Backward she thrusts the tides,
  Swiftly she runs;
 
Steel is the sailor’s heart,
  Stalwart his arm,        10
His the Republic’s part
  Through cloud and storm.
 
Tell me what standard rare
  Streams from the spars?
Red stripes and white they bear,        15
  Blue, with bright stars:
 
Red for brave hearts that burn
  With liberty,
White for the peace they earn
  Making men free,        20
 
Stars for the Heaven above,—
  Blue for the deep,
Where, in their country’s love,
  Heroes shall sleep.
 
Tell me why on the breeze        25
  These banners blow?
Ships, and ships’ companies,
  Eagerly go
 
Warring, like all our line,
  Freedom to friend        30
Under this starry sign,
  True to the end.
 
Fair is the Flag’s renown,
  Sacred her scars,
Sweet the death she shall crown        35
  Under the stars.
 

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