Poem of Quotes - Poetry, Quotations, and Relationships
Home > Poets > 19th Century > Oliver Wendell Holmes > God Save the Flag by Oliver Wendell Holmes Analysis & Poem

God Save the Flag by Oliver Wendell Holmes

Analysis

"God Save the Flag" is a poem written Oliver Wendell Holmes. This poem is, very obviously, about a country's flag (in this case, the United States flag). It often compares the flag to other things such as "ribbons of lily and rose" to discuss it's stripes. It also calls the flag a "emblem of justice and mercy to all". The writing goes on to say to bless the people who defend the flag.

This poem is made up of five stanzas with four lines in each. It has the perfect rhyme scheme of ABAB. The "A" lines are written with eleven syllables and the "B" lines are written in ten.

Poem

God Save the Flag
By 

Washed in the blood of the brave and the blooming, 
Snatched from the altars of insolent foes,
Burning with star-fires, but never consuming,
Flash its broad ribbons of lily and rose.

Vainly the prophets of Baal would rend it,
Vainly his worshippers pray for its fall;
Thousands have died for it, millions defend it,
Emblem of justice and mercy to all;

Justice that reddens the sky with her terrors,
Mercy that comes with her white-handed train,
Soothing all passions, redeeming all errors,
Sheathing the sabre and breaking the chain.

Borne on the deluge of all usurpations,
Drifted our Ark o'er the desolate seas,
Bearing the rainbow of hope to the nations,
Torn from the storm-cloud and flung to the breeze!

God bless the Flag and its loyal defenders,
While its broad folds o'er the battle-field wave,
Till the dim star-wreath rekindle its splendors,
Washed from its stains in the blood of the brave.

Next: Grandmothers Story of Bunker Hill