Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, DECATUR'S TOAST, by ARTHUR GUITERMAN



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DECATUR'S TOAST, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Up rose, triumphant, from his seat
Last Line: "our country! -- right or wrong!"
Subject(s): Decatur, Stephen (1779-1820); Heroism; Nations; New York City - Revolutionary Period; Toasts; Heroes; Heroines


Up rose, triumphant, from his seat
The Bayard of the Sea --
The lion of our laureled fleet,
The scourge of Barbary;
His glass abrim with bubbling light,
He pledged that brilliant throng --
"Our Country! -- be she ever right;
Our Country! -- right or wrong!"

Then round about the oaken board
The goblets leaped and rang,
And fervent fingers pressed the sword
As up the heroes sprang;
No mawkish qualms or doubts had they
That echoed deep and strong,
"Our Country! -- ever right, we pray;
Our Country -- right or wrong!

Too well the stifling mists they knew
That dimmed the Stars we bore --
The plots of banded traitors, who,
Amid the stress of war,
Made weightier their nation's woes,
Till rose the patriot song:
"When face to face with foreign foes,
Our Country! -- right or wrong!"

Stanch lovers of our free domain,
We strive for truth and right
With honest force of heart and brain
As God may give us light.
But doubts must yield and ties must break
When darkening perils throng;
And when the sullen guns awake,
"Our Country! -- right or wrong!"





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