Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IX. Tragedy: Humor
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IX. Tragedy: Humor.  1904.
Humorous Poems: III. Parodies: Imitations
Poems Received in Response to an Advertised Call for a National Anthem
Robert Henry Newell (1836–1901)
National Anthem
By H. W. L——, of Cambridge

BACK in the years when Phlagstaff, the Dane, was monarch
  Over the sea-ribbed land of the fleet-footed Norsemen,
Once there went forth young Ursa to gaze at the heavens,—
  Ursa, the noblest of all Vikings and horsemen.
Musing he sat in his stirrups and viewed the horizon,        5
  Where the Aurora lapt stars in a north-polar manner:
Wildly he started,—for there in the heavens before him
  Fluttered and flew the original star-spangled banner.
  Two objections are in the way of the acceptance of this anthem by the committee: in the first place, it is not an anthem at all; secondly, it is a gross plagiarism from an old Sclavonic war-song of the primeval ages.
  Next we quote from a

National Anthem
By The Hon. Edward E——, of Boston

PONDEROUS projectiles, hurled by heavy hands,
  Fell on our Liberty’s poor infant head,        10
Ere she a stadium had well advanced
  On the great path that to her greatness led;
Her temple’s propylon was shatter-ed;
  Yet, thanks to saving Grace and Washington,
Her incubus was from her bosom hurled;        15
  And, rising like a cloud-dispelling sun,
She took the oil with which her hair was curled
To grease the “hub” round which revolves the world.
  This fine production is rather heavy for an “anthem,” and contains too much of Boston to be considered strictly national. To set such an “anthem” to music would require a Wagner; and even were it really accommodated to a tune, it could only be whistled by the populace.
  We now come to a

National Anthem
By John Greenleaf W——

MY native land, thy Puritanic stock
Still finds its roots firm bound in Plymouth Rock;        20
And all thy sons unite in one grand wish,—
To keep the virtues of Preserv-ed Fish.
Preserv-ed Fish, the Deacon stern and true,
Told our New England what her sons should do;
And, should they swerve from loyalty and right,        25
Then the whole land were lost indeed in night.
  The sectional bias of this “anthem” renders it unsuitable for use in that small margin of the world situated outside of New England. Hence the above must be rejected.
  Here we have a very curious

National Anthem.
By Dr. Oliver Wendell H——

A DIAGNOSIS of our history proves
Our native land a land its native loves:
Its birth a deed obstetric without peer,
Its growth a source of wonder far and near.        30
To love it more, behold how foreign shores
Sink into nothingness beside its stores.
Hyde Park at best—though counted ultra grand—
The “Boston Common” of Victoria’s land—
  The committee must not be blamed for rejecting the above after reading thus far, for such an “anthem” could only be sung by a college of surgeons or a Beacon Street tea-party.
  Turn we now to a

National Anthem
By William Cullen B——

THE SUN sinks softly to his evening post,
  The sun swells grandly to his morning crown;
Yet not a star our flag of heaven has lost,
  And not a sunset stripe with him goes down.
So thrones may fall; and from the dust of those
  New thrones may rise, to totter like the last;        40
But still our country’s noble planet glows,
  While the eternal stars of Heaven are fast.
  Upon finding that this does not go well to the air of “Yankee Doodle,” the committee feel justified in declining it; it being furthermore prejudiced against it by a suspicion that the poet has crowded an advertisement of a paper which he edits into the first line.
  Next we quote from a

National Anthem
By General George P. M——

IN the days that tried our fathers,
  Many years ago,
Our fair land achieved her freedom        45
  Blood-bought, you know.
Shall we not defend her ever,
  As we ’d defend
That fair maiden, kind and tender,
  Calling us friend?        50
Yes! Let all the echoes answer,
  From hill and vale;
Yes! Let other nations hearing,
  Joy in the tale.
Our Columbia is a lady,        55
  High born and fair,
We have sworn allegiance to her,—
  Touch her who dare.
  The tone of this “anthem” not being devotional enough to suit the committee, it should be printed on an edition of linen-cambric handkerchiefs for ladies especially.
  Observe this

National Anthem
By N. P. W——

ONE hue of our flag is taken
  From the cheeks of my blushing pet,        60
And its stars beat time and sparkle
  Like the studs on her chemisette.
Its blue is the ocean shadow
  That hides in her dreamy eyes,
And it conquers all men, like her,        65
  And still for a Union flies.
  Several members of the committee find that this “anthem” has too much of the Anacreon spice to suit them.
  We next peruse a

National Anthem
By Thomas Bailey A——

THE LITTLE brown squirrel hops in the corn,
  The cricket quaintly sings;
The emerald pigeon nods his head,
  And the shad in the river springs;        70
The dainty sunflower hangs its head
  On the shore of the summer sea;
And better far that I were dead,
  If Maud did not love me.
I love the squirrel that hops in the corn,        75
  And the cricket that quaintly sings;
And the emerald pigeon that nods his head,
  And the shad that gayly springs.
I love the dainty sunflower, too,
  And Maud with her snowy breast;        80
I love them all; but I love—I love—
  I love my country best.

  This is certainly very beautiful, and sounds somewhat like Tennyson. Though it may be rejected by the committee, it can never lose its value as a piece of excellent reading for children. It is calculated to fill the youthful mind with patriotism and natural history, beside touching the youthful heart with an emotion palpitating for all.

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