Verse > Anthologies > James and Mary Ford, eds. > Every Day in the Year
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James and Mary Ford, eds.  Every Day in the Year.  1902.
 
April 19
Through Baltimore
By Bayard Taylor (1825–1878)
 
          As the Sixth Massachusetts and the Seventh Pennsylvania regiments were on their way to Washington on April 19, 1861, they were attacked by a mob in the streets of Baltimore.

’TWAS Friday morn: the train drew near
  The city and the shore.
Far through the sunshine, soft and clear,
We saw the dear old flag appear,
And in our hearts arose a cheer        5
  For Baltimore.
 
Across the broad Patapsco’s wave,
  Old Fort McHenry bore
The starry banner of the brave,
As when our fathers went to save,        10
Or in the trenches find a grave
  At Baltimore.
 
Before us, pillared in the sky,
  We saw the statue soar
Of Washington, serene and high:—        15
Could traitors view that form, nor fly?
Could patriots see, nor gladly die
  For Baltimore?
 
“O city of our country’s song!
  By that swift aid we bore        20
When sorely pressed, receive the throng
Who go to shield our flag from wrong,
And give us welcome, warm and strong,
  In Baltimore!”
 
We had no arms; as friends we came        25
  As brothers evermore,
To rally round one sacred name—
The charter of our power and fame:
We never dreamed of guilt and shame
  In Baltimore.        30
 
The coward mob upon us fell:
  McHenry’s flag they tore:
Surprised, borne backward by the swell,
Beat down with mad, inhuman yell,
Before us yawned, a traitorous hell        35
  In Baltimore!
 
The streets our soldier-fathers trod
  Blushed with their children’s gore:
We saw the craven rulers nod,
And dip in blood the civic rod—        40
Shall such things be, O righteous God,
  In Baltimore?
 
No, never! By that outrage black,
  A solemn oath we swore,
To bring the Keystone’s thousand back,        45
Strike down the dastards who attack,
And leave a red and fiery track
  Through Baltimore!
 
Bow down, in haste, thy guilty head!
  God’s wrath is swift and sore:        50
The sky with gathering bolts is red—
Cleanse from thy skirts the slaughter shed,
Or make thyself an ashen bed,
  O, Baltimore!
 
 
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