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Old Ironsides poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes

Old Ironsides
 by Oliver Wendell Holmes

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 hulk 
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!

Old Ironsides
  by Oliver Wendell Holmes


Old Ironsides
poem - Oliver Wendell Holmes

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