Thursday, November 12, 2009

Old Ironsides

THE frigate Constitution, which had figured valiantly in the history of the United States navy, and had won the famous sea-fight with the English ship Guerriere in the War of 1812, was popularly called Old Ironsides, and had won a warm place in the hearts of the American people. On September 14, 1830, the Boston Daily Advertiser announced that the Secretary of the Navy had recommended that the Constitution be broken up, as no longer fit for service. As soon as he heard this Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote his poem Old Ironsides, which appeared two days later. It immediately became a battle-cry; was repeated all through the country; and caused such a wave of feeling for the time-scarred frigate that the plan of dismantling her was given up, and instead she was rebuilt, and given an honored place among the veterans of the country's navy.


by: Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894)

Aye, 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 rung the battle shout,
And burst the cannon's roar;--
The meteor of the ocean air
Shall sweep the clouds no more!

Her deck, once red with heroes' blood,
Where knelt the vanquished foe,
When winds were hurrying o'er the flood
And waves were white below,
No more shall feel the victor's tread,
Or know the conquered knee;--
The harpies of the shore shall pluck
The eagle of the sea!

Oh, better that her shattered hulk
Should sink beneath the wave;
Her thunders shook the mighty deep,
And there should be her grave;
Nail to the mast her holy flag,
Set every threadbare sail,
And give her to the God of storms,--
The lightning of the gale!

It's kind of sad, isn't it?

Tony D.


  1. Is it just me, or did the tabs come up in Chinese?

  2. Um, yeah they did, and it freaked me out!!!

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  4. Ohhhhhh, my gosh! You have no idea what I just went through! I was looking at the tabs on the side of the site, and I saw two tabs randomly in Chinese at the bottom, so absolutely puzzled, I opened it, and I didn't know where the post had come from because on my dashboard I clicked on a blog we had a while ago, so I was even more weirded out, and then I read your comment and burst out laughing. Oh my goodness, that was crazy.

  5. I'm sorry my lady! I don't know what's going on with that, so for now it will have to stay in Chinese. :)

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  7. I notice we have arabic tags. That's pretty cool.

  8. Oh, it's arabic? Ha. Well, I don't know how to change it so, uh... I guess we all need to take a language course in arabic.

  9. Yeah pretty cool Tini and Dewhurst? I didn't realize you two knew arabic! Wow you learn something new every day! :) I wish I could read the tags! Then again maybe not....
    ~Lady Edith

  10. You are so kind Lady Edith, however, I don't actually know arabic. I wish I did. The tags only say "Oliver Wendall Holmes" and "poetry." When I typed them, they were in English! I don't know what happened.

  11. That is very odd! Perhaps someone is hacking the site, but I doubt it! Why would someone want to hack a site that is about literature?!
    Anyways, at least they are the right number of words as they are in English!! I don't think, however, that I would be able to recognize them from any other Arabic words of the same number!
    Maybe after I learn Spanish and then maybe French, perhaps I could learn Arabic, but I think there are other languages that are higher on my priority list!
    ~Lady Edith
    By the way, are any of you learning any foreign languages?
    I really like French, but I haven't worked on it in a while!

  12. As a matter of fact, I am learning Latin!
    Latina est difficilis, sed Latinam amo!

  13. I am fluent in Elvish.
    Top that.

    Just kidding :D

  14. Come on, Dodger, where are you? You must post! I can't wait any longer.