James Bayard Taylor

(11 January 1825 – 19 December 1878 / Chester County, Pennsylvania)

Through Baltimore - Poem by James Bayard Taylor

'Twas Friday morn, the train drew near
The city and the shore!
Far through the sunshine, soft and clear,
We saw the dear old flags 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?

'Oh 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 prod,
And dip in blood the civic rod -
Shall such things be, oh 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 -
Oh Baltimore!

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Poem Edited: Monday, December 19, 2011

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