Complete Accurate Text of “The Star-Spangled Banner”

“The Star-Spangled Banner,” originally “In Defence of Fort McHenry”
by Francis Scott Key

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 rockets’ red glare, the bombs 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 freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n 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!

7 Responses to Complete Accurate Text of “The Star-Spangled Banner”

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  5. Mark Basil says:

    The flag used was Huuuuuugh. Intentionally Hugh. As if to say: come on you British, give us your best shot. At the time, Britan was conscripting Americans, black and white, into forced British service against Napoleon’s forces. It was the British attack on Ft. McHenry. And it failed. The US flag was still flying strong after an all night of cannon fire by the British.

    Key, an American Attorney, had been invited to board the British ship to discuss a prisoner exchange. When it took too long to complete, Key was allowed to view the bombardment of Ft. McHenry while under guard from a small British boat tied to the main British attack ship.

    Keys borrowed the tune of an old drinking song and gave it these new words.

    The song means so much more when you know the history behind it.

    In the end, the British and America ended the way in a truce. But America won its Second War of Independence from Britain.

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