Day By Day

Saturday, May 13, 2006

"Foul Footsteps' Pollution" and "Nine Fusty Maids" -- The Star Spangled Banner Nobody Knows

There has been a lot of huffing and puffing lately about the attempt of Hispanic immigrants to translate the Star Spangled Banner into Spanish. People seem to assume that it was a sacred text to be maintained without alteration through the ages. But, historically that has not been the case. Dave Kopel has unearthed several alternative versions of the song that have appeared since Francis Scott Key first published "The Defense of Fort McHenry" in 1814 [here]

I myself have always been partial to the fourth verse of the anthem:

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the 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 forever shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Although this has a certain charm:
"The YELLOW-HAIRED GOD and his nine fusty Maids
"From Helicon's Banks will incontinent flee,
"IDALIA will boast but of tenantless Shades,
"And the bi-forked Hill a mere Desart will be
"My Thunder, no fear on't,
"Shall foon do it's Errand,
" and, dam'me! I'll swinge the Ringleaders, I warrant,
"I'll trim the young Dogs, for thus daring to twine
"The Myrtle of VENUS with BACCUS'S Vine.

No comments: