- Star-Spangled Banner, The
1. See Stars and Stripes.2. (italics) the national anthem of the United States of America, based on a poem written by Francis Scott Key on September 14, 1814, and set by him to the melody of the English song To Anacreon in Heaven: officially adopted by the U.S. Congress in 1931.
* * *▪ American national anthemnational anthem of the United States. Francis Scott Key (Key, Francis Scott), a lawyer, wrote the lyrics after watching the British attack Fort McHenry, Maryland, in 1814, during the War of 1812. The melody was taken from “To Anacreon in Heaven,” a drinking song of the Anacreontic Society (of London) that was written by the British composer John Stafford Smith. Key's words were first published in a broadside in 1814 under the title “Defence of Fort M'Henry.” The song's title was changed when it appeared in sheet-music form later the same year. After a century of general use, the four-stanza song was officially adopted as the national anthem by act of Congress in 1931.Innumerable publications of the song through the years have shown variations in both words and music. An official arrangement was prepared by John Philip Sousa (Sousa, John Philip) for the U.S. Army and Navy, and music educators have spent much time and effort in arriving at a practical version. The second and third stanzas are customarily omitted out of courtesy to the British. The accepted text of “The Star-Spangled Banner” is as follows:Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early lightWhat so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming,Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fightO'er the ramparts we watch'd were so gallantly streaming?And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet waveO'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, oh, long may it waveO'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!And where is that band who so vauntingly sworeThat the havoc of war and the battle's confusionA home and a country should leave us no more?Their blood has wash'd out their foul footstep's pollution.No refuge could save the hireling and slaveFrom the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth waveO'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.Oh, thus be it ever when freemen shall standBetween their lov'd home and the war's desolation!Blest with vict'ry and peace may the heav'n-rescued landPraise the power that hath made and preserv'd us a nationThen 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 waveO'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
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