William McCarty, comp. The American National Song Book. 1842.
The Star-Spangled Banner
By Francis Scott Key (17791843)
TuneAnacreon in Heaven
The annexed song was composed under the following circumstances:A gentleman had left Baltimore, with a flag of truce, for the purpose of getting released from the British fleet a friend of his, who had been captured at Marlborough. He went as far as the mouth of the Patuxent, and was not permitted to return, lest the intended attack on Baltimore should be disclosed. He was therefore brought up the bay to the mouth of the Patapsco, where the flag-vessel was kept under the guns of a frigate; and he was compelled to witness the bombardment of Fort MHenry, which the admiral had boasted he would carry in a few hours, and that the city must fall. He watched the flag at the fort through the whole day, with an anxiety that can be better felt than described, until the night prevented him from seeing it. In the night he watched the bomb-shells, and at early dawn his eye was again greeted by the proudly-waving flag of his country.
O! SAY, can you see, by the dawns early light,
What so proudly we haild at the twilights last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
Oer the ramparts we watchd were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air,