THE AMERICAN FLAG by Fr. Charles Constantine Pise

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THE AMERICAN FLAG

This poem was written by the accomplished Rev. Charles Constantine Pise, the only Catholic priest who ever had the distinction of being chaplain to the United States Senate. He held the office with credit and dignity from 1830 to 1833. The poem was written during the exciting times of Knownothingism that preceded the Civil War, when Catholics were on all sides accused of being enemies of the Government. It is said that it was inspired by the flag waving from the national capitol, as the author saw it while walking up Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington.

They say I do not love thee,

Flag of my native land;

Whose meteor folds above me,

To the free breeze expand;

Thy broad stripes proudly streaming,

And thy stars so brightly gleaming.

They say I would forsake thee,

Should some dark crisis lower;

That, recreant, I should make thee

Crouch to a foreign power;

Seduced by license ample,

On thee, best flag, to trample.

They say that bolts of thunder,

Cast in the forge of Rome,

May rise and bring thee under,

Flag of my native home,

And with one blow dissever

My heart from thee forever.

False are the words they utter,

Ungenerous their brand;

And rash the oaths they mutter,

Flag of my native land;

Whilst still, in hope above me,

Thou wavest—and I love thee!

God is my love’s first duty,

To Whose Eternal Name

Be praise for all thy beauty,

Thy grandeur and thy fame;

But ever have I reckoned

Thine, native flag, my second.

Woe to the foe or the stranger,

Whose sacrilegious hand

Would touch thee, or endanger,

Flag of my native land!

Though some would fain discard thee,

Mine should be raised to guard thee.

Then wave, thou first of banners!

And in thy gentle shade

Let all opinions, manners,

Promiscuously be laid,

And there, all discord ended,

Our hearts and souls be blended!

Stream on, stream on, before us,

Thou labarum of light,

While in one generous chorus

Our vows to thee we plight;

Unfaithful to thee—never !

My native land forever!

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About The Mithril Guardian

I like stories.  Whether they’re on film, in song, or in print, I always remember a good story.  They remind me of paintings.  People cannot see them without learning something.  So it’s a good idea to look at a story from as many angles as possible.  I can watch the same movie a million times and still I will learn something that I did not know before.  Thoughts on the Edge of Forever is where I get to focus on what I learned from stories; what was not obvious the first time, the second time, or the umpteenth time. Earlier posts are written in the form of letters, usually to specific characters, to point out what I saw in a particular story or heard in a piece of music. Some of those letters, though, are like letters to the editor. Why did someone write a story this way and not another? Would the story have turned out better if the writer had done something different? These ‘letters to the editor’ will probably never be answered by the writers - the characters certainly will not answer anything - but their contents are still up for debate. After all, unless you ask a question, you will never get an answer. Still, civil ground rules apply. Any foul language or other form of abuse will not be tolerated in Thoughts on the Edge of Forever. I mean, who wants to be around the guest at the dinner party who is being nasty? Practically nobody, since people go to a party to have fun, not to hang around a grouch. So let’s have fun! The Mithril Guardian
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