Star Spangled Banner Lyrics

Star Spangled Banner Lyrics

Oh! 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 watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro’ 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?

(“Ramparts,” in case you don’t know, are the protective walls or other elevations that surround a Fort. The first stanza asks a question. The second gives an answer. )

On the shore, dimly seen thro’ the mist 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 on 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!

(“The towering steep” is again, the ramparts. The bombardment has failed, and the British can do nothing more but sail away, their mission a failure. In the third stanza, I feel Key allows himself to gloat over the American triumph. In the aftermath of the bombardment, Key probably was in no mood to act otherwise. During World War II, when the British were our staunchest allies, this third stanza was not sung. However, I know it, so here it is)

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion.
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footstep’s 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.

(The fourth stanza, a pious hope for the future, should be sung more slowly than the other three, and with even deeper feeling. )

Oh! Thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand,
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation,
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n – rescued land,
Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

 

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