Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
Old Ironsides
 
AY, put her a-top on the log-book of fame,
  Her voice always roar’d from the van,
When she bore down in thunder, and darkness and flame,
Crash, foundering each foe that before her came,
The old sailor’s soul flashes up at her name,        5
  For her yards young Americans man.
 
Fill her canvass, my boys, with a full round of cheers,
  From hearts that are sound to the core;
She’s braved the hot whirlwind of battle for years,
A flag never struck, at her mizzen appears—        10
Bristling nations with awe her artillery hears,
  For victory breathes in its roar.
 
She’s wrestled the wrath of winter’s fierce gale,
  When it whiten’d the Atlantic’s breast,
When midnight moan’d like a maniac’s wail,        15
Lightnings glared wild through the rent of each sail,
And sweethearts ashore were weeping and pale,
  While their lovers stood calm to the test.
 
Her deck’s been trampled by Slaughter’s feet—
  Her scuppers choked tight with gore;        20
She press’d on, the proud pioneer of the fleet,
Every heart kept time to the death-drum’s beat,
Every muscle firm as the iron cleat,
  While the broad flag of Freedom she bore.
 
That standard has flared over many a fight,        25
  Whose noise the night tempest outgrew,
When our country frown’d for the sailor boy’s right,
Read each decree by the cannon’s dark light,
Tyranny’s face turned suddenly white
  When we brought down his banner of blue.        30
 
Often, again, as in years that are past,
  Will our old ship undaunted dash on,
Her colours defyingly nail’d to the mast,
Her ports opened wide to the blaze and the blast,
She will front every danger and death to the last,        35
  And be cheer’d by America’s children, unborn.
 
 
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