Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Up from the meadows, rich with com,
 Clear in the cool September mom,
 The clustering spires of Frederick stand,
 Green-walled by the hills of Maryland.

Round about them orchards sweep,
Apple and peach-tree fruited deep,
 Fair as a garden of the Lord
To the eyes of the famished rebel horde,

On that pleasant mom of the early fall,
 When Lee marched over the mountain wall-­
 Over the mountains, winding down,
 Horse and foot into Frederick town.

Forty flags with their silver stars,
 Forty flags with their crimson bars,
 Flapped in the morning wind; the sun
 Of noon looked down and saw not one.

Up rose old Barbara Frietchie then,
 Bowed with her four-score years and ten;
 Bravest of all in Frederick town,
 She took up the flag the men hauled down;

In her attic window the staff she set,
 To show that one heart was loyal yet.
 Up the street came the rebel tread,
Stonewall Jackson riding ahead.

Under his slouched hat, left and right,
He glanced-the old flag met his sight:
"Halt !"-the dust-brown ranks stood fast.
"Fire!"-outblazed the rifle blast;
It shivered the window, pane and sash;
It rent the banner with seam and gash.
Quick. as it fell, from the broken staff,
Dame Barbara snatched the silken scarf:

She leaned far out on the window-sill
And shook it forth with a royal wiII.
"Shoot, if you must, this old gray head,
But spare your country's flag," she said.
A shade of sadness. a blush of shame
Over the face of the ieader came;

The nobler nature within him stirred
To life at that woman's deed and word:
"Who touches a hair of yon gray head
Dies like a dog! March on!" he said.

All day long through Frederick Street
Sounded the tread of marching feet;
All day long that free flag tossed
Over the heads of the rebel host.

Ever its torn folds rose and fell
On the loyal winds that loved it well;
And through the hill-gaps sunset light
Shone over it with a warm good-night.

Barbara Frietchie's work is o'er,
And the rebel rides on his raids no more,
 Honor to her! and let a tear
Fall, for her sake, on Stonewall's bier.

Over Barbara Frietchie's grave
 Flag of freedom and union wave'
 Peace and order and beauty draw
 Round thy symbol of light and law;

And ever the stars above look down
On thy stars below in Frederick town.

John Greenleaf Whittier.

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