Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THROUGH BALTIMORE, by BAYARD TAYLOR



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THROUGH BALTIMORE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Twas on friday morn: the train grew near
Last Line: O baltimore!
Alternate Author Name(s): Taylor, James Bayard
Subject(s): American Civil War; Baltimore, Maryland; U.s. - History


'T WAS Friday morn: the train drew near
The city and the shore.
Far through the sunshine, soft and clear,
We saw the dear old flag appear,
And in our hearts arose a cheer
For Baltimore.

Across the broad Patapsco's wave,
Old Fort McHenry bore
The starry banner of the brave,
As when our fathers went to save,
Or in the trenches find a grave
At Baltimore.

Before us, pillared in the sky,
We saw the statue soar
Of Washington, serene and high: --
Could traitors view that form, nor fly?
Could patriots see, nor gladly die
For Baltimore?

"O city of our country's song!
By that swift aid we bore
When sorely pressed, receive the throng
Who go to shield our flag from wrong,
And give us welcome, warm and strong,
In Baltimore!"

We had no arms; as friends we came,
As brothers evermore,
To rally round one sacred name --
The charter of our power and fame:
We never dreamed of guilt and shame
In Baltimore.

The coward mob upon us fell:
McHenry's flag they tore:
Surprised, borne backward by the swell,
Beat down with mad, inhuman yell,
Before us yawned a traitorous hell
In Baltimore!

The streets our soldier-fathers trod
Blushed with their children's gore;
We saw the craven rulers nod,
And dip in blood the civic rod --
Shall such things be, O righteous God,
In Baltimore?

No, never! By that outrage black,
A solemn oath we swore,
To bring the Keystone's thousands back,
Strike down the dastards who attack,
And leave a red and fiery track
Through Baltimore!

Bow down, in haste, thy guilty head!
God's wrath is swift and sore:
The sky with gathering bolts is red, --
Cleanse from thy skirts the slaughter shed,
Or make thyself an ashen bed,
O Baltimore!





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