And the Star-spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
Oer the land of the free, and the home of the brave.
Note 1. Key, of Baltimore, is the author of the short lyrical piece entitled The Star-Spangled Banner, which has enjoyed a high popularity. Of the occasion which led to the composition of these lines, the following account is given.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 Marlboro. 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 that he would carry in a few hours. He watched the flag at the Fort, through the whole day, with an anxiety that can be more easily conceived 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. [back]