When the Warrior Returns

Francis Scott Key set his poem The Defense of Fort McHenry, which became The Star Spangled Banner, to the tune of the English  song To Anacreon In Heaven.  This was not the first of his poems he had done this to.  The first was his composition When the Warrior Returns which he wrote in 1805 in honor of heroes of the First Barbary Pirates war.  Here is the text of the poem:

 

WHEN the warrior returns, from the battle afar,
        To the home and the country he nobly defended,
    O! warm be the welcome to gladden his ear,
        And loud be the joy that his perils are ended:
    In the full tide of song let his fame roll along,
    To the feast-flowing board let us gratefully throng,
    Where, mixed with the olive, the laurel shall wave,
    And form a bright wreath for the brows of the brave.

    Columbians! a band of your brothers behold,
        Who claim the reward of your hearts’ warm emotion,
    When your cause, when your honor, urged onward the bold,
        In vain frowned the desert, in vain raged the ocean:
    To a far distant shore, to the battle’s wild roar,
    They rushed, your fair fame and your rights to secure:
    Then, mixed with the olive, the laurel shall wave,
    And form a bright wreath for the brows of the brave.

    In the conflict resistless, each toil they endured,
        ‘Till their foes fled dismayed from the war’s desolation:
    And pale beamed the Crescent, its splendor obscured
        By the light of the Star Spangled flag of our nation.
    Where each radiant star gleamed a meteor of war,
    And the turbaned heads bowed to its terrible glare,
    Now, mixed with the olive, the laurel shall wave,
    And form a bright wreath for the brows of the brave.

    Our fathers, who stand on the summit of fame,
        Shall exultingly hear of their sons the proud story:
    How their young bosoms glow’d with the patriot flame,
        How they fought, how they fell, in the blaze of their glory.
    How triumphant they rode o’er the wondering flood,
    And stained the blue waters with infidel blood;
    How, mixed with the olive, the laurel did wave,
    And formed a bright wreath for the brows of the brave.

    Then welcome the warrior returned from afar
        To the home and the country he nobly defended:
    Let the thanks due to valor now gladden his ear,
        And loud be the joy that his perils are ended.
    In the full tide of song let his fame roll along,
    To the feast-flowing board let us gratefully throng,
    Where, mixed with the olive, the laurel shall wave,
    And form a bright wreath for the brows of the bravo.

 

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Published in: on September 12, 2014 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on When the Warrior Returns  
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