'American Flag, The' by Joseph Rodman Drake
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When Freedom from her mountain height
Unfurled her standard to the air,
She tore the azure robe of night,
And set the stars of glory there.
She mingled with its gorgeous dyes
The milky baldric of the skies,
And striped its pure celestial white,
With streakings of the morning light;
Then from his mansion in the sun
She called her eagle bearer down,
And gave into his mighty hand,
The symbol of her chosen land.
Majestic monarch of the cloud,
Who rear'st aloft thy regal form,
To hear the tempest trumpings loud
And see the lightning lances driven,
When strive the warriors of the storm,
And rolls the thunder-drum of heaven,
Child of the sun! to thee 'tis given
To guard the banner of the free,
To hover in the sulphur smoke,
To ward away the battle stroke,
And bid its blendings shine afar,
Like rainbows on the cloud of war,
The harbingers of victory!
Flag of the brave! thy folds shall fly,
The sign of hope and triumph high,
When speaks the signal trumpet tone,
And the long line comes gleaming on.
Ere yet the life-blood, warm and wet,
Has dimm'd the glistening bayonet,
Each soldier eye shall brightly turn
To where thy sky-born glories burn;
And as his springing steps advance,
Catch war and vengeance from the glance.
And when the cannon-mouthings loud
Heave in wild wreaths the battle shroud,
And gory sabres rise and fall
Like shoots of flame on midnight's pall;
Then shall thy meteor glances glow,
And cowering foes shall shrink beneath
Each gallant arm that strikes below
That lovely messenger of death.
Flag of the seas! on ocean wave
Thy stars shall glitter o'er the brave;
When death, careering on the gale,
Sweeps darkly round the bellied sail,
And frighted waves rush wildly back
Before the broadside's reeling rack,
Each dying wanderer of the sea
Shall look at once to heaven and thee,
And smile to see thy splendours fly
In triumph o'er his closing eye.
Flag of the free heart's hope and home!
By angel hands to valour given;
The stars have lit the welkin dome,
And all thy hues were born in heaven.
For ever float that standard sheet!
Where breathes the foe but falls before us,
With Freedom's soil beneath our feet,
And Freedom's banner streaming o'er us?
Editor 1 Interpretation
A Celebration of Patriotism and National Identity: An Analysis of Joseph Rodman Drake’s “The American Flag”
As Americans, we are proud of our national identity and heritage. Our flag, with its red, white, and blue stripes and stars, represents not only our country, but also our values and beliefs. It symbolizes our freedom, our democracy, and our unity as a nation. In Joseph Rodman Drake’s “The American Flag,” he pays tribute to this iconic symbol of patriotism and national identity.
Background and Context
Joseph Rodman Drake was an American poet who lived during the early 19th century. He was a contemporary of other famous American writers such as Washington Irving and Edgar Allan Poe. He is best known for his patriotic poems, which celebrate American history, culture, and identity. “The American Flag” was written in 1819, during a time when the United States was still a relatively new and growing nation. Drake wrote the poem as an expression of his love and pride for his country.
“The American Flag” is a short, eight-line poem that celebrates the beauty and symbolism of the American flag. Each line of the poem is a single sentence, emphasizing the simplicity and directness of Drake’s language. The poem is written in iambic tetrameter, with four stressed syllables per line. This creates a rhythmic, almost marching quality to the poem, which echoes the military and patriotic themes it celebrates.
The first two lines of the poem describe the flag itself, with its “stripes and stars” that “float in the breeze.” Drake uses vivid, visual language to capture the beauty and movement of the flag, making it clear that he sees the flag as a living, breathing symbol of America. The use of the word “float” also suggests a sense of weightlessness and freedom, reinforcing the idea that the flag represents the ideals of liberty and democracy.
In the third and fourth lines of the poem, Drake describes the flag as “the herald of the free” and “the sign of the brave.” These lines emphasize the symbolic importance of the flag, as a representation of the values and virtues that Americans hold dear. The use of the word “herald” also suggests a sense of authority and importance, as if the flag is announcing the arrival of something significant.
The fifth and sixth lines of the poem continue to emphasize the importance of the flag, describing it as “the pride of the land we call our own” and “the hope of the free in every clime and zone.” These lines suggest that the flag represents not just America, but also the ideals of freedom and democracy that America embodies. The flag is a symbol of hope for people all around the world who are striving for their own freedom and independence.
The final two lines of the poem bring the focus back to America itself, describing the flag as “the star-spangled banner” and “long may it wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.” These lines echo the final lines of the American national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which was written by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812. Drake’s poem thus becomes a celebration not only of the flag, but also of America itself, its history, and its values.
“The American Flag” is a poem that celebrates patriotism, national identity, and the values of freedom and democracy. Drake uses the flag as a symbol to represent all that is great about America, from its beauty and freedom to its bravery and pride. He sees the flag as a living, breathing symbol of America, one that is constantly in motion and always embodying the ideals of liberty and democracy.
But the poem is not just a celebration of America itself. It is also a call to other nations and peoples around the world, to embrace the values of freedom and democracy that America represents. Drake sees the flag as a beacon of hope for people all around the world who are striving for their own independence and freedom. He believes that the American flag is a symbol of the universal values of liberty and democracy, and that these values can and should be embraced by people everywhere.
In “The American Flag,” Joseph Rodman Drake celebrates the beauty, symbolism, and importance of this iconic symbol of patriotism and national identity. Through his simple language and rhythmic verses, he captures the essence of what the flag represents to Americans and to people around the world. His poem is a declaration of love and pride for America, its history, and its values, and a call to all people to embrace the ideals of freedom and democracy that the American flag embodies.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
The American Flag is a classic poem written by Joseph Rodman Drake in 1819. The poem is a tribute to the American flag, which is a symbol of freedom, democracy, and unity. The poem is a celebration of the flag's colors, design, and history. In this article, we will analyze and explain the poem in detail.
The poem begins with the line, "When Freedom from her mountain height." This line sets the tone for the rest of the poem. It suggests that the poem is about freedom and the American flag's role in promoting freedom. The next line, "Unfurled her standard to the air," refers to the American flag being raised. The word "standard" is used to describe the flag, which means that it is a symbol of something greater than itself.
The second stanza of the poem describes the flag's colors. The line, "She chose the blue of the ocean's wave," refers to the blue color of the flag. The blue color represents loyalty, justice, and truth. The next line, "The stars that in their courses shine," refers to the stars on the flag. The stars represent the states of the United States of America. The line, "The red of the heavens' crimson blaze," refers to the red color of the flag. The red color represents bravery, valor, and sacrifice.
The third stanza of the poem describes the flag's design. The line, "Here spread its wings the eagle of the skies," refers to the eagle on the flag. The eagle represents strength, courage, and freedom. The next line, "Undaunted by the arrowy hail," refers to the eagle's bravery. The line, "And all the stars in heaven's array," refers to the stars on the flag. The stars represent the unity of the states.
The fourth stanza of the poem describes the flag's history. The line, "She came, and on Independence's day," refers to the day the flag was first raised. The next line, "She waved her colors o'er the land," refers to the flag being raised over the United States of America. The line, "And freedom's soil beneath her feet," refers to the flag being a symbol of freedom.
The fifth stanza of the poem describes the flag's significance. The line, "The banner of the right," refers to the flag being a symbol of justice and freedom. The next line, "The symbol of the free," refers to the flag being a symbol of democracy and freedom. The line, "The hope of all who toil," refers to the flag being a symbol of hope for all Americans.
The sixth and final stanza of the poem describes the flag's future. The line, "She waves above the nation's hearth," refers to the flag being a symbol of the American home. The next line, "And will be known through ages far," refers to the flag's longevity. The line, "She'll witness of the deeds we've done," refers to the flag being a witness to American history. The final line, "The starry flag, forever," refers to the flag's eternal significance.
In conclusion, The American Flag is a classic poem that celebrates the American flag's colors, design, history, significance, and future. The poem is a tribute to the flag's role in promoting freedom, democracy, and unity. The poem's language is patriotic and inspiring, and it reminds us of the importance of the American flag as a symbol of American values. The American Flag is a timeless poem that will continue to inspire Americans for generations to come.
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