- Old Ironsides
the U.S. frigate Constitution (used as a nickname).
* * *▪ Primary Source“Old Ironsides”In 1830 Oliver Wendell Holmes dedicated this poem to the preservation of the U.S.S. Constitution:Aye, tear her tattered ensign down!Long has it waved on high,And many an eye has danced to seeThat banner in the sky;Beneath it rung the battle shout,And burst the cannon's roar;The meteor of the ocean airShall sweep the clouds no more!Her decks, once red with heroes' blood,Where knelt the vanquished foe,When winds were hurrying o'er the flood,And waves were white below,No more shall feel the victor's treadOr know the conquered knee;The harpies of the shore shall pluckThe eagle of the sea!Oh, better that her shattered hulkShould sink beneath the wave;Her thunders shook the mighty deep,And there should be her grave;Nail to the mast her holy flag,Set every threadbare sail,And give her to the god of storms,The lightning and the gale!
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