Old Ironsides

  • Type: Poem
  • Length: 1 page

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Old Ironsides
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Y/M/D Association Description Place Locale Food Event
1830/09/16 Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr Author "Old Ironsides", a poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes, is published in the Boston Daily Advertiser, bringing national attention to the scrapping USS Constitution. USS CONSTITUTION Boston

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Particulars for Old Ironsides:
Era Age of Sail A period where trade and naval warfare were dominated by sailing ships, lasting from the mid-16C to the mid-19C.
Art Type Poem writing that partakes of the nature of both speech and song that is typically rhythmical, usually metaphorical, and often exhibits such formal elements as meter, rhyme and stanzaic structure.

Old Ironsides


Ay, 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 bulk
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 and the gale!


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