Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
To the Congress of the United States
By Selleck Osborn (1783–1826)
 
The (Not Humble) Petition of the
“Striped Bunting”

          Occasioned by the motion of a worthy member of Congress, in 1816, to make some alteration in the United States National Flag

HIGH waving, unsullied, unstruck, proudly showeth,
What each friend, and each foe, and each neutral well knoweth,
That your lofty petitioner never descends,
At the call of her foes, nor the whim of her friends;
The air is her element—there she remains,        5
’Bove the vapours of earth and the vapour of brains;
Her path is ethereal—high she aspires,
Her stripes aloft streaming, like Boreal fires;
They stream to astonish, dismay, or delight,
As the foe or the friend may encounter the sight.        10
On the Mediterranean, had you been present,
And seen them display’d o’er the infidel crescent,
The terror of every piratical knave,
But hail’d and acclaim’d by the honest and brave—
In that region so clear, in that sky so serene,        15
Those stars, in ascendancy bright, had you seen,
Your thoughts from their glory would never have ranged,
Nor dream’d that fix’d stars, like the moon, could be changed.
 
When o’er the red cross of the humbled Guerriere
Your petitioner hover’d—then was she not dear?        20
So bright was your flag, and its stars so resplendent,
So well it became the victorious ascendant,
That the crew of old Ironsides swore, with hearts full,
’Twas the best thing about her, excepting her HULL!
 
By the fame of your Jackson, Boyd, Ripley, and Scott,        25
Who beneath your petitioner bravely have fought;
By their naval compeers, each illustrious name
That has made your petitioner sacred to Fame;
By the spirit of Lawrence, unyielding in death,
Whose concern for her glory employ’d his last breath; 1        30
By all that has claim to your love and respect,
She adjures you to save her from shameful neglect.
Then shall your petitioner, dear to the brave,
As in honour bound, ever triumphantly wave.
 
Note 1. “Don’t give up the ship”—or, don’t strike the bunting. [back]
 
 
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