Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > America
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX.  1876–79.
 
Southern States: Baltimore, Md.
The Star Spangled Banner
Francis Scott Key (1779–1843)
 
          Written while the author was a prisoner on board the British fleet, on the morning after the unsuccessful bombardment of Fort McHenry.

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, through the perilous fight,
  O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,        5
Gave proof through 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?
 
On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
  Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,        10
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;
Its full glory reflected now shines on the stream;
’T is the star-spangled banner, oh! long may it wave        15
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
 
And where is the band who so vauntingly swore,
  Mid the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country they ’d leave us no more?
  Their blood hath washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution;        20
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.
 
Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand        25
  Between their loved home and the war’s desolation;
Blessed with victory and peace, may the Heaven-rescued land
  Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just,
And this be our motto, “In God is our trust,”        30
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
 
 
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