Thursday, May 18, 2006

Another Classic Quiz: An American Poet This Time.

The poem’s title, who wrote it and why? Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!/ Long has it waved on high/ And many an eye has danced to see/ That banner in the sky;/ Beneath it run the cannon shout/ And burst the cannon’s roar;--/ The meteor of the ocean air/Shall sweep the clouds no more!

The concluding stanza: Nail to the mast her holy flag,/ Set every threadbare sail/ And give her to the god or storms/ The lightning and the gail!

Every school-child in my generation had to read it, some to memorize it.

1 comment:

  1. It was Oliver Wendell Holmes' "Old Ironsides". While everyone else in class was reading "The Chambered Nautilus", I skipped a few pages forward and read this one. I wrote on this one for a college paper.

    Holmes wrote it because the ship was to be decommissioned and scrapped, but the poem alone saved it.