Verse > Anthologies > James and Mary Ford, eds. > Every Day in the Year
James and Mary Ford, eds.  Every Day in the Year.  1902.
September 14
The Star Spangled Banner
By Francis Scott Key (1779–1843)
          Fort McHenry, at the entrance of the harbor of Baltimore, was unsuccessfully bombarded by the British, Sept. 14, 1814. Francis Scott Key witnessed the bombardment from the British vessel in which he was detained as a prisoner and celebrated it in verse under the name of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

OH, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
  What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thro’ the perilous fight
  O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air        5
  Gave proof thro’ the night that our flag was still there;
Oh, say, does that Star Spangled banner yet wave
  O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
Oh, say, does the Star Spangled Banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?        10
On the shore, dimly seen thro’ the mist 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,        15
  In full glory reflected now shines in the stream;
  ’Tis the Star Spangled Banner, oh, long may it wave
  O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.—CHO.
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
  ’Mid the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,        20
A home and a country they’d leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
  From terror of flight or the gloom of the grave;
And the Star Spangled Banner in triumph doth wave        25
  O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.—CHO.
Oh, thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
  Between their loved home and the war’s desolation;
Blest with victory and peace, may the Heaven-rescued land
  Praise the Power that made and preserved us a nation!        30
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.—CHO.
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