Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
The Flag of the United States
By Thomas G. Spear
NE’ER waved beneath the golden sun
  A lovelier banner for the brave,
Than that our bleeding fathers won,
  And proudly to their children gave.
No fairer sign can freedom fling        5
  Where valour seeks a guiding scroll,
Than that to which our free hearts cling—
  The flag that lights the freeman’s soul.
Its glorious stars in azure shine,
  The radiant heraldry of heaven—        10
Its stripes in beauteous order twine,
  The emblems of our Union given;
And patriot eyes, with raptured gaze,
  Survey its bright and meteor glare,
As glory’s beams around it blaze,        15
  And rest in fadeless splendour there.
Its lily, streak’d with crimson, flies,
  Effulged with light and blent with blue,
As spread the rays that span the skies,
  And charm the rapt beholder’s view;        20
And every hue that flings its light
  Along creation’s gleaming dome,
Descends to greet its gorgeous flight,
  High o’er the free heart’s chosen home.
Look, freemen! on the streaming folds,        25
  As gallantly they range afar,
Where freedom’s bird undaunted holds
  The branch of peace and spear of war—
While high amid the rolling stars,
  As boundlessly her wings expand,        30
Within her beak serene she bears
  The badge of our united land.
Behold the star-wrought ensign sweep,
  The hope of death of thousands slain,
Unrivall’d on the foaming deep,        35
  Unconquer’d on the battle-plain.
Along the exultant mountain gale,
  Its shining folds majestic flow,
As trailing meteors skyward sail,
  And leave the dazzled world below.        40
Though France has crush’d her Bourbon flower,
  And seized the flag her valour sought,
She blush’d to wave the uncertain dower—
  A name was all the boon it brought.
Though Albion boasts her cross of blood,        45
  Encrimson’d on a thousand plains,
Yet Freedom’s cause, too oft withstood,
  Has mark’d it with redeemless stains.
But thine, Columbia! thine’s the prize,
  To cheer the free and guide the brave—        50
To rear through earth’s remotest skies,
  And plant upon Oppression’s grave;
Thine is the flag in danger wrought,
  To lift above the lion’s form,—
Whose folds thy martyr’d fathers sought,        55
  To cheer them through the battle storm.
When Freedom dared her westward flight,
  Thy spangled sheet she proudly trail’d,
Soar’d with it forth to fields of light,
  And thraldom to the combat hail’d;—        60
Victorious rose her dazzling sign,
  O’er fields of green and waves of blue,
Till flush’d from war’s disbanded line,
  Through heaven to cheer the world it flew.
Flag of the free! still bear thy sway,        65
  Undimm’d through ages yet untold,
O’er earth’s proud realms thy stars display,
  Like morning’s radiant clouds unroll’d.
Flag of the skies! still peerless shine,
  Through earth’s azure vault unfurl’d,        70
Till every hand and heart entwine,
  To sweep Oppression from the world.

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