A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from May 09, 2015
Star-Spangled Banner (Star-Spangled Flag)

The term “star spangled flag” dates to 1805. Francis Scott Key (1779-1843) wrote a poem to the then-popular London tune of “To Anacreon in Heaven” that included the lyric:

By the light of the Star Spangled flag of our nation.
Where each radiant star gleamed a meteor of war,
And the turbaned heads bowed to its terrible glare,
Now, mixed with the olive, the laurel shall wave,
And form a bright wreath for the brows of the brave.


The term “star spangled banner” was used in 1813:

“The British boarding lieut. modestly requested that our naval officers would exhibit the ‘protections’ [bits of paper] of their men.—‘They are there and there,’ scornfully said these genuine Americans, pointing first at the star spangled banner and then to the guns ...”

Francis Scott Key wrote the poem “Defence of Fort McHenry” (called “The Star Spangled-Banner” and later officially the U.S. national anthem) in September 1814, again to the tune of “Anacreon in Heaven.” The last lines for the first stanza are:

O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?



Wikipedia: The Star-Spangled Banner
“The Star-Spangled Banner” is the national anthem of the United States of America. The lyrics come from “Defence of Fort M’Henry”, a poem written in 1814 by the 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet Francis Scott Key after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British ships of the Royal Navy in Baltimore Harbor during the Battle of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812.

The poem was set to the tune of a popular British song written by John Stafford Smith for the Anacreontic Society, a men’s social club in London. “To Anacreon in Heaven” (or “The Anacreontic Song"), with various lyrics, was already popular in the United States. Set to Key’s poem and renamed “The Star-Spangled Banner”, it would soon become a well-known American patriotic song. With a range of one octave and one fifth (a semitone more than an octave and a half), it is known for being difficult to sing. Although the poem has four stanzas, only the first is commonly sung today.

“The Star-Spangled Banner” was recognized for official use by the U.S. Navy in 1889, and by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, and was made the national anthem by a congressional resolution on March 3, 1931 (46 Stat. 1508, codified at 36 U.S.C. § 301), which was signed by President Herbert Hoover.

[First citation: 30 December 1805, Boston (MA) Independent Chronicle.}
7 January 1806 The Post-Boy (Windsor, VT), “Cabinet Pieces of Poesy,” pg. 8, col. 1:
The following elegant and appropriate Song, (written by a gentleman of George-Town, on an hour’s notice) was sung at an entertainment given by the citizens, to Capts. Stephen Decatur, jun. and Charles Stewart:—
TUNE—ANACREON.
WHEN the warrior returns, from the battle afar,
To the home and the country he nobly defended,
O! warm be the welcome to gladden his ear,
And loud be the joy that his perils are ended:
In the full tide of song let his fame roll along,
To the feast-flowing board let us gratefully throng,
Where, mixed with the olive, the laurel shall wave,
And form a bright wreath for the brows of the brave.

Columbians! a band of your brothers behold,
Who claim the reward of your hearts’ warm emotion,
When your cause, when your honor, urged onward the bold,
In vain frowned the desert, in vain raged the ocean:
To a far distant shore, to the battle’s wild roar,
They rushed, your fair fame and your rights to secure:
Then, mixed with the olive, the laurel shall wave,
And form a bright wreath for the brows of the brave.

In the conflict resistless, each toil they endured,
‘Till their foes fled dismayed from the war’s desolation:
And pale beamed the Crescent, its splendor obscured
By the light of the Star Spangled flag of our nation.
Where each radiant star gleamed a meteor of war,
And the turbaned heads bowed to its terrible glare,
Now, mixed with the olive, the laurel shall wave,
And form a bright wreath for the brows of the brave.

Our fathers, who stand on the summit of fame,
Shall exultingly hear of their sons the proud story:
How their young bosoms glow’d with the patriot flame,
How they fought, how they fell, in the blaze of their glory.
How triumphant they rode o’er the wondering flood,
And stained the blue waters with infidel blood;
How, mixed with the olive, the laurel did wave,
And formed a bright wreath for the brows of the brave.

Then welcome the warrior returned from afar
To the home and the country he nobly defended:
Let the thanks due to valor now gladden his ear,
And loud be the joy that his perils are ended.
In the full tide of song let his fame roll along,
To the feast-flowing board let us gratefully throng,
Where, mixed with the olive, the laurel shall wave,
And form a bright wreath for the brows of the bravo.

Google Books
4 December 1813, The (Niles’ --ed.) Weekly Register (Baltimore, MD), “Expatriation—Impressment,” pg. 238, col. 1:
The British boarding lieut. modestly requested that our naval officers would exhibit the “protections” [bits of paper] of their men.—“They are there and there,” scornfully said these genuine Americans, pointing first at the star spangled banner and then to the guns—and, said Decatur “this is the music that belongs to them,“ ordering the drums to beat up yankee doodle.

1814, The War (New York, NY), pg. 54, col. 1:
DEFENCE OF FORT McHENRY.
[The annexed Song was composed under the following circumstances:  A gentleman had left Baltimore, in a flag of truce for the purpose of getting released from the British fleet, a friend of his who had been captured at Marlborough. He went as far as the mouth of the Patuxent, and was not permitted to return lest the intended attack on Baltimore should be discolsed. He was therefore brought up the Bay to the mouth of the Patapsco, where the flag vessel was kept under the guns of a frigate, and he was compelled to witness the bombardment of Fort McHenry, which the Admiral had boasted that he would carry in a few hours, and that the city must fall. He watched the flag at the Fort through the whole day with an anxiety that can be better felt than described, until the night prevented him from seeing it. In the night he watched the Bomb Shells, and at early dawn his eye was again greeted by the proudly waving flag of his country.]

THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER.
Tune—Anacreon in Heaven.
Oh, 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 on 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 wiped out their foul footstep’s 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.

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 in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Saturday, May 09, 2015 • Permalink