Francis Scott Key and the Star-Spangled Banner

On September 14, 1814, Christian Patriot, Francis Scott Key, wrote his heaven- inspired poem at an inn in Baltimore harbor, portraying America’s flag – her foremost symbol, representing her origins, dependence upon Almighty God and the value system as a nation. Ever since he came ashore from a ship after watching the American flag fly triumphantly through the bombardment of Fort McHenry, his immortal poem has been cherished by Americans with the deepest patriotic devotion. It is interesting that many people are only familiar with the first stanza of this poem. However, the remaining stanzas clearly speak of the relationship of God to this nation and its citizens’ dependence upon Him. It is here printed in its entirety:

The Star-Spangled Banner

O say! Can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bomb bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,

Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,

What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,

As it fitfully blows half conceals, half discloses?

Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,

In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,

‘Tis the Star-Spangled Banner – O long may it wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,

That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion

A home and a Country should leave us no more?

Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.

No refuge could save the hireling and slave

From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,

And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph doth wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when free men shall stand

Between their loved homes and war’s desolation!

Blest with victory and peace may the heaven-rescued land

Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!

Then conquer we must when our cause it is just

And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”

And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave,

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

These magnificent words, depicting love of God and country, were adapted to the inspiring music of John Stafford Smith (c. 1780).
On March 3, 1931, an Act to make the Star-Spangled Banner the national anthem of the United States of America, was resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives in Congress assembled (36 U.S.C. Sec. 170).
Millions of Americans throughout the ensuing years have paid homage to their flag – the Star-Spangled Banner, by singing the National Anthem, giving full expression to their love of Almighty God and their homeland.

Poems of Francis Scott Key
Author of “The Star-Spangled Banner”

On Reading Lines by Fawcett –
On being “Born Again”

So sings the world’s fond slave! So flies the dream
Of life’s gay morn; so sinks the meteor ray
Of fancy into darkness; and no beam
Of purer light shines on the wanderer’s way.

So sings not he who soars on other wings
Than fancy lends him; whom a cheering faith
Warms and sustains, and whose freed spirit springs
To joys that bloom beyond the reach of death.

And thou would’st live again! Again dream o’er
The wild and feverish visions of thy youth
Again to wake in sorrow, and deplore
Thy wanderings from the peaceful paths of truth!

Yet yield not to despair! be born again,
And thou shalt live a life of joy and peace,
Shall die a death of triumph, and thy strain
Be changed to notes of rapture ne’er to cease.

“All Things Are Yours.”
I Corinthians 3:21

Behold the grant the King of kings
Hath to his subjects given:
“All things are yours,” it saith; all things
That are in earth and heaven.

The saints are yours, to guide you home,
And bless you with their prayers;
The world is yours, to overcome
Its pleasures and its cares;

And life is yours, to give it all
To works of faith and love;
And death is yours, a welcome call
To higher joys above;

All present things are yours: whate’er
God’s providence decreed.
Is from His treasures culled with care,
And sent to suit thy need;

And things to come are yours: and all
Shall ever ordered be,
To keep thee safe, whate’er befall,
And work for good to thee;

And Christ is yours – his sacrifice,
To speak your sins forgiven:
His righteousness the only price
That thou canst pay for heaven.

Thus God is yours – thus reconciled,
His love your bliss secures,
The Father looks upon the child
And saith, “All things are yours.”

Efficacy of Prayer
“When I called upon thee thou heardest me, and enduedst my soul with much strength.” Psalm 138:3

When troubles, wave on wave, assailed,
And fear my soul appalled,
I knew the Lord would rescue me,
And for deliverance called.

Still onward, onward came the flood;
Again I sought the Lord,
And prayed that he the waves would still
By his resistless word.

But still they rushing came; again
Arose my earnest prayer,
And then I prayed for faith and strength
Whate’er he willed, to bear.

Then his felt presence was my strength,
His outstretched arm was nigh;
My head he raised, my heart he cheered,
“Fear not,” he said, “’tis I.”

Strong in that strength, I rose above
The tempest’s fierce alarms;
It drove me to a port of peace, within a
Saviour’s arms.

Life

If life’s pleasures cheer thee,
Give them not thy heart,
Lest the gifts ensnare thee
From thy God to part:
His praises speak, his favor seek,
Fix there thy hopes’ foundation;
Love him, and he shall ever be
The rock of thy salvation.

If sorrow e’er befall thee,
Painful though it be,
Let not fear appal thee:
To thy Saviour flee;
He, ever near, thy prayer will hear,
And calm thy perturbation;
The waves of woe shall ne’er o’erflow
The rock of thy salvation.

Death shall never harm thee,
Shrink not from his blow,
For thy God shall arm thee,
And victory bestow:
For death shall bring to thee no sting,
The grave no desolation;
‘Tis gain to die, with Jesus nigh,
The rock of thy salvation.

Man

“The days of man are but as grass; for he flourisheth as a flower of the field. For as soon as the wind goeth over it, it is gone, and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the merciful goodness of the Lord endureth forever and ever upon them that fear him, and his righteousness upon children’s children; Even upon such as keep his covenant and think upon his commandments to do them. The Lord hath prepared his seat in heaven, and his kingdom ruleth over all.”

Psalm 103:15-19

Such are thy days – so shall they pass away –
As flowers that bloom at morn, at eve decay;
But then, there comes a life that knows no end –
Rich in unfading joys that far transcend
Thy highest thoughts or warmest wishes – given
To those whose days on earth have fitted them for heaven.

Home

O! Where can the soul find relief from its foes,
A shelter of safety, a home of repose?
Can earth’s brightest summit, or deepest hid vale,
Give a refuge no sorrow nor sin can assail?
No, no, there’s no home!
There’s no home on earth; the soul has no home.

Shall it leave the low earth, and soar to the sky,
And seek an abode in the mansions on high?
In the bright realms of bliss shall a dwelling be given,
And the soul find a home in the glory of heaven?
Yes, yes, there’s a home!
There’s a home in high heaven: the soul has a home!

O! holy and sweet its rest shall be there,
Free forever from sin, from sorrow and care;
And the loud hallelujahs of angels shall rise
To welcome the soul to its home in the skies.
Home, home, home of the soul!
The bosom of God is the home of the soul.

Hymn

Lord, with glowing heart I’d praise thee
For the bliss thy love bestows,
For the pardoning grace that saves me,
And the peace that from it flows.
Help, O God! my weak endeavor,
This dull soul to rapture raise;
Thou must light the flame, or never
Can my love be warmed to praise.

Praise, my soul, the God that sought thee,
Wretched wanderer, far astray;
Found thee lost, and kindly brought thee
From the paths of death away.

Praise, with love’s devoutest feeling,
Him who saw thy guilt-born fear,
And, the light of hope revealing,
Bade the blood-stained cross appear.

Lord! This bosom’s ardent feeling
Vainly would my lips express;
Low before thy foot-stool kneeling,
Deign thy suppliant’s prayer to bless.
Let thy grace, my soul’s chief treasure,
Love’s pure flame within me raise;
And, since words can never measure,
Let my life show forth thy praise.

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Bibliography:

Library of Congress, Rare Book Collection.

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