The American Flag
By J. R. Drake
The Polynesian: December, 1840; page 108
Honolulu, Hawaii

 

 
 

When Freedom from her mountain height
Unfurled her standard to the air,
She tore the azure robe of night,
And set the stars of glory there!
She mingled with its gorgeous dyes
The milky baldric of the skies,
And striped its pure celestial white;
With streakings of the morning light;
Then from his mansion in the sun,
She called her eagle bearer down,
And gave into his mighty hand
The symbol of her chosen land!

Majestic monarch of the cloud!
Who rear’st aloft thy regal form,
To hear the tempest trumping loud,
And See the lightning lances driven,
When stride the warriors of the storm,
And rolls the thunder-drum of heaven!
Child of the sun! to thee ‘tis given
To guard the banner of the free,
To hover in the sulphur smoke,
To ward away the battle-stroke,
And bid its blendings shine afar,
Like rainbows on the cloud of war,
The harbinger of victory!

Flag of the brave! Thy folds shall fly,
The sign of hope and triumph high!
When speaks the signal trumpet-tone,
And the long line comes gleaming on,
(Ere yet the life-blood, warm and wet,
Has dimmed the glistening bayonet,)
Each soldier’s eye shall brightly turn
To where they meteor glories burn,
And, as his springing steps advance,
Catch war and vengeance from the glance!
And when the cannon-mouthings loud,
Heave in wild wreathes the battle-shroud,
And gory sabers rise and fall,
Like shoots of flame on midnight’s pall,-
There shall thy victor glances glow,
And cowering foes shall sink beneath
Each gallant arm that strikes below,
That lovely messenger of death!

Flag of the seas! on ocean’s wave,
Thy stars shall glitter o’er the brave,
When death, careering on the gale,
Sweeps darkly round the bellied sail,
And frighted waves rush wildly back
Before the broadside’s reeling rack, -
The dying wanderer of the sea
Shall look, at once, to heaven and thee,
And smile to see they splendors fly,
In triumph, o’er his closing eye.

Flag of the free heart’s only home!
By angels hands to valour given, -
Thy stars have lit the welkin dome,
And all thy hues were born in heaven!
Forever float that standard sheet!
Where breathes the foe that stands before us!
With Freedom’s soil beneath our feet,
And Freedom’s banner streaming o’er us!