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196 The National Music of America.
over the American fort. The three gentlemen were now informed that the attack had failed, that the soldiers were reem-barking and that as soon as they had got aboard the American party was free to depart.
During the hours of the early morning, beginning with that great moment when he had been able to discern the American flag through his field-glass, Key had hastily jotted down the opening stanzas of the poem, that was to become so celebrated, on the back of a letter which he happened to have in his pocket. He finished it in the boat as he was going up to Baltimore, and wrote out a fair copy at the hotel in that city on the day of his arrival. Copies were immediately struck off in hand-bill form, entitled "The Bombardment of Fort McHenry."
On the twenty-first of September it was printed in the Baltimore American, and we