1] The editorial introduction in Analectic Magazine is as follows ... "These lines have been already published in several of our newpapers; they may still, however, be new to many of our readers. Besides, we think their merit entitles them to preservation in some more permanent form than the columns of a daily paper. 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 disclosed. 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 M'Henry, which the Admiral had boasted 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." (p. 55)
Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department
of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.
Original text: "Defence of For M'Henry," Analectic Magazine 4 (Nov. 1814): 433-34. Toronto Metro Public Reference Library.
First publication date: 21 September 1814
Publication date note: Baltimore American Sept. 21, 1814.
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1998.
Recent editing: 2:2002/4/25
Other poems by Francis Scott Key