Old Glory! say, who,
By the ships and the crew,
And the long, blended ranks of the gray and the blue—
Who gave you, Old Glory, the name that you bear
With such pride everywhere,
As you cast yourself free to the rapturous air
And leap out full length, as we're wanting you to?—
Who gave you that name, with the ring of the same,
And the honor and fame so becoming to you?
Your stripes stroked in ripples of white and of red,
With your stars at their glittering best overhead—
By day or by night
Their delightfullest light
Laughing down from their little square heaven of blue!
Who gave you the name of Old Glory—say, who—
Who gave you the name of Old Glory?
The old banner lifted and faltering then
In vague lisps and whispers fell silent again.
Old Glory: the story we're wanting to hear
Is what the plain facts of your christening were,—
For your name—just to hear it,
Repeat it, and cheer it, 's a tang to the spirit
As salt as a tear;—
And seeing you fly, and the boys marching by,
There's a shout in the throat and a blur in the eye,
And an aching to live for you always—or die,
If, dying, we still keep you waving on high
And so, by our love
For you, floating above,
And the scars of all wars and the sorrows thereof,
Who gave you the name of Old Glory, and why
Are we thrilled at the name of Old Glory?
Then the old banner leaped like a sail in the blast,
And fluttered an audible answer at last
And it spake with a shake of the voice, and it said:
By the driven snow-white and the living blood-red
Of my bars and their heaven of stars overhead—
By the symbol conjoined of them all, skyward cast,
As I float from the steeple or flap at the mast,
Or droop o'er the sod where the long grasses nod,—
My name is as old as the glory of God
. . . So I came by the name of Old Glory.