Favorite Songs and Hymns For School and Home, page: 0150

450 Of The World's Best Songs And Hymns, With Lyrics & Sheet music for voice & piano.

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Star-Spangled Banner.—This beautiful and pa­triotic national song was composed by Francis Scott Key, of Baltimore, at the time of the bombardment •f Fort McHenry, in 1814, when that stronghold was successfully defended from the attack of the British fleet *' The scene which he describes," says Chief Justice Taney, "and the warm spirit of patriotism which breathes in the song, were not the offspring of mere fancy or poetic imagination. He tells us what he actually saw, what he felt while witnessing the conflict, and what he felt when the battle was over and the victory won by his countrymen. Every word came warm from his heart, and for that reason, even more than from its poetical merit, it never fails to find a response in the hearts of those who hear it." By authority of President Madison, Mr. Key had
gone to the British fleet under a flag of truce to se­cure the release of his friend, Dr. Beanes, who had been captured by the enemy and was detained on board the flagship, on the charge of violating his parole. He met General Ross and Admirals Cock-burn and Cochrane, and with difficulty secured from them a promise of the gentleman's release, but was at the same time informed that they would not be permitted to leave the fleet until after the proposed attack on Fort McHenry, which the admiral boasted he would carry in a few hours. The ship on which himself, his friend and the commissioner who accom­panied the flag of truce, were detained, came up the bay and was anchored at the mouth of the Patapsco, within full view of Fort McHenry. They watched the flag of the fort through the entire day with as
THE MILLER OF THE
DEE.
Chas. Mackay.
anxiety that can better be felt than described, until night prevented them from seeing it. During the night they remained on deck, noting every shell from the moment it was fired until it fell. While the bom­bardment continued, it was evidence that the fort had not surrendered, but it suddenly ceased some time before day, and, as they had no communication with any of the enemy's ships, they did not know whether the fort had surrendered or the attack been abandoned. They paced the deck for the rest of the night in pain­ful suspense, watching with intense anxiety for the return of the day. As soon as it dawned, their glasses were turned to the fort, and, with a thrill of delight, they saw that " our flag was still there !" The song was begun on the deck of the vessel, in the fervor of the moment when he saw the enemy hastily retreating
to their ships, and looked upon the proud flag he had watched for so anxiously as the morning opened. He had written, on the back of a letter, some lines, or brief notes that would aid him in recalling them, and for some of the lines as he proceeded he had to rely on his memory. He finished it in the boat on his way to the shore, and wrote it out as it now stands immediately upon reaching Baltimore. In an hour after it was placed in the hands of the printer, it was on the streets hailed with enthusiasm, and at once took its place as a national song. The music of the Star Span­gled Banner, to which it was at once adapted, is an old French air, long known in England as" Anacreon," and afterwards in America as "Adams and Liberty." Mr. Key died in 1846. At San Francisco, a monu­ment costing $150,000 has been erected to his memory.
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