TRANSCRIPT OF READING 3: DEFENCE OF FORT McHENRY
- Thanks for your comments, Michael & Lola.
I actually sent it Wednesday but it doesn't appear in the archives so I am presuming my computer blocked it for whatever reason. I occasionally have problems with it doing that. Thanks for catching the problem. Cheers.
The following is designed for students' reading but may be of some interest to adults as well, courtesy of the United States National Park Service.
Thank you to our British and Canadian list members for humoring this attempt to educate rather than retaliate history.
TRANSCRIPT OF READING 3
DEFENCE OF FORT McHENRY
The annexed song was composed under the following circumstancesA gentleman had left Baltimore, in a flag of truce for the purpose of getting released from the British fleet, a friend of his who had been captured at Marlborough.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 McHenry, which the Admiral had boasted that he would carry in a few hours, and that the city must fall. He watched the flag at the Fort through the whole day with an anxiety that can be better felt 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.
TuneANACREON IN HEAVEN
O ! say can you see by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
And the Rockets' red glare, the Bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our Flag was still there.
O ! say does that star-spangled Banner yet wave
O'er the Land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner: O ! long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country, shall leave us no more?
Their blood has wash'd out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave,
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
O ! thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their lov'd homes, and the war's desolation,
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the Heav'n-rescued land,
Praise the Power that hath made and preserv'd us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause. it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our Trust"
And the star-spangled Banner in triumph shall wave,
O'er the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.
(Courtesy of the Maryland Historical Society)
Questions for Reading 3
1. Try to read the document http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/137FOMC/137facts3.htm
If you can't, click here for a transcript http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/137FOMC/transcript.html
Then compare the introductory paragraph with Reading How does it differ? Why do you think that might be the case?
2. Read the first stanza of the poem carefully and compare it with Reading 1. In what ways do you think it reflects what Major Armistead reported? In what ways, if any, does it differ?
3. Next, read the other three stanzas. Summarize in your own words what they are saying. Why do you think few people sing them today?
4. Francis Scott Key was a member of a prominent white family that owned many slaves. Why do you think he saw no contradiction between his status as a slaveholder and his pride in the "land of the free"?
5. This original broadside is one of only two known to survive. Why do you think someone kept it and preserved it? Do you think it is important to have the actual physical pieces of paper associated with historic events like the Battle of Baltimore? Discuss your answers.