Mudcat Café message #414311 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #31521   Message #414311
Posted By: CRANKY YANKEE
09-Mar-01 - 07:02 PM
Thread Name: American National Anthem
Subject: RE: American National Anthem
By the time "To Anachreon in Heaven"'s melody got to 1815 ish Baltimore, it seems that everyone was singing one or another sets of lyrics to this extremely popular tune. Well, the story goes, the British troops that had just demolished the Washington DC militia and burned that city to the ground, found a very different reception fom the Baltimore militia. ("militia" is a plural word and includes every able bodied person between the ages of 16 and 60, not a member of the official military establishment, capable of temporary combat service) They, tthe British, met with well trained and well armed militia units who beat the crap out of them. They, the British again, decided that an overland attack on Baltimore was not an option, and that a sea borne assault was more likely to be successful. They would first, however, have to silence the long range, heavy guns of Fort McHenry. To try to get past Ft. McHenry's Field artillery would be futile. So, limping back to their fleet, the British Forces spent the night in "Upper Camden" (or someting like that) Maryland. The Headman of that community, Dr. Bean, after conferring with the town council, notified the British Commander that they would offer no resistance, as there was none to offer, and that they would feed them before they went on their way the next morning. This was acceptable to the British C.O. But, three British soldiers went AWOL, stayed behind, got drunk and very rowdy, upon which, they were arrested and locked up in the town jail. The Commander of the British Expeditionary Force, hearing that three of his soldiers had been captured, and, not knowing the true details of this act, sent a detail of Royal Marines to secure their rescue and to arrest Dr. Bean. Dr Bean was imprisoned on the British Flagship. He would be dealt with after the attack on Ft Mc Henry. The Town Council of Upper Camden secured the services of a much liked and very respected lawyer, Francis Scott Key, who was known to have a very pleasing personality and convincing manner. Mr Key sailed out to the British Fleet on his own little sloop, under a flag of truce, was welcomed aboard the British Flagship where he convinced the commander that the soldiers' arrest had not ben an act of warfare, but a simple civil matter. He acquainted the Commander with the true details of the actions that resulted in the arrest, and assured the Commander that anyone, American or English, who behaved in so disgraceful a manner would have been arrested. Mr.Key's argument was accepted, Dr. Bean was released and the three soldiers were arrested, "Awaiting the King's Pleasure". However, MR. Key, his companion and Dr. Bean, for their own safety, were asked to spend the night aboard their little sloop, tied up next to the British Flagship, as,that very night, The fleet would bombard Ft.McHenry, and attempt to silence their guns. All that night the three Americans watched as everything the fleet had, including newly developed exploding cannonballs and rockets, was hurled at at the defenders ashore. The following morning, in the silence following the attack, The three Americans, not knowing if they even had a Country left, peered anxiously through the slowly dissipating morning fog until, finally, they caught sight of the huge 15 starred and 15 striped flag, now on display at the Smithsonian, still flying over the fort. Overcome by emotion, tears of joy in his eyes, (as reported by the other two) and with John Stafford Smith's melody in mind, Francis Scott Key composed the deathless 4 stanza poem which he named, "The Defense of Fort McHenry" Returning to Baltimore they had a panphlet printed up that very night, Mr. Key had a pamphlet printed up with the changed title, "The Star Spangled Banner" with the notation, that the poem was to be sung to the melody of, "To Anachreon in Heaven". This pamphlet was distributed, free of charge, to the citizenry of Baltimore the following morning, by the three friends, where it was an immediate hit.

There are, indeed, 4 verses to this song. Just before World War I, American music publishers stopped printing the 3d verse (you'll see why) because we were once again, solid friends with the Mother Country. British publishers continued printing all 4 verses. The third verse caught my eye when I was looking through the "Scottish Students' Song Book" published in 1891. With all 4 verses the song has continuity. Our newly elected (?) Vice President, in a rebuttal to one of President Clinton's first speeches ended his adress with, "Remember, we are the only Country in the world who's National Anthem begins and ends with a question". I GUESS HE NEVER READ THE WHOLE POEM or even the 3 verse version. and this typical Republican is our Vice President. Mr. Bush, I wish you a long , long life. I'm a folksinger and I like this song a lot, and I sing it as part of my performance every now and then. The guitar accompaniement isn't at all difficult. I do it in "G". Here's the whole song.

                        I
OH SAY CAN YOU SEE BY THE DAWN'S EARLY LIGHT,
WHAT SO PROUDLY WE HAILED AT THE TWILIGHTS LAST GLEAMING
WHOSE BROAD STRIPES AND BRIGHT STARS
THROUGH THE PERILOUS FIGHT
O'ER THE RAMPARTS WE WATCHED WERE SO GALLANTLY STREAMING
AND THE ROCKETS RED GLARE, BPMBS BURSTING IN AIR
GAVE PROOF THROUGH THE NIGHT THAT OUR FLAG WAS STILL THERE
OH, SAY, DOES THAT STAR SPANGLED BANNER YET WAVE
O'ER THE LAND OF THE FREE AND THE HOME OF THE BRAVE?.


II
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
SO 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, OH, LONG MAY IT WAVE
O'ER THE LAND OF THE FREE AND THE HOME OF THE BRAVE.

III
NOW WHERE IS THE FOE WHO SO VAUNTINGLY SWORE
MIDST THE HAVOC OF WAR AND THE BATTLE'S CONFUSION
A HOME AND A COUNTRY THEY'D LEAVE US NO MORE?
THEIR BLOOD HAS WASHED OUT THEIR FOUL FOOTSTEPS POLLUTION.
NO REFUGE COULD SAVE THE HIRELING OR SLAVE,
FROM THE TERROR OF FLIGHT OR THE GLOOM OF THE GRAVE.
AND THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER IN TRIUMPH SHALL WAVE
O'ER THE LAND OF THE FREE AND THE HOME OF THE BRAVE.

IV
SO THUS BE IT EVER WHEN FREE MEN SHALL STAND
BETWEEN THEIR LOVED HOMES AND THE WARS DESOLATION
BLESSED WITH VICTORY AND PEACE MAY THIS HEAVEN RESCUED LAND
PRAISE THE POWER THAT HATH MADE AND PRESERVED US A NATION
THEN CONQUER WE MUST WHEN OUR CAUSE IT IS JUST
AND THIS BE OUR MOTTO, "IN GOD IS OUR TRUST"
THEN THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER IN TRIUMPH SHALL WAVE
WHILE THE LAND OF THE FREE IS THE HOME OF THE BRAVE


Now, perhaps you'll re think your position. Considering the conditions under which this remarkable piece of literature was composed, do you still think we should exchange it for some non-descript piece of drivel?
IN FULL GLORY REFLECTED NOW SHINES IN THE STREAM
Line Breaks <br> added. Preformat commands <pre> (beginning) and </pre> (end) added to space Roman numerals.
-Joe Offer, who prefers "America the Beautiful" and does not consider it "drivel"-