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Biographical and Historical: The name of Joseph Rodman Drake is inseparably associated with that of his friend, Fitz-Greene Halleck. Together they contributed a series of forty poems to the New York Evening Post. Among these was “The American Flag,” the last four lines of which were written by Halleck, to replace those written by Drake:

Warren's Address at the Battle of Bunker Hill


As fixed as yonder orb divine,

That saw thy bannered blaze unfurled,
Shall thy proud stars resplendent shine,
The guard and glory of the world.”

Drake was a youth of many graces of both mind and body, who wrote verses as a bird sings—for the pure joy of it. His career was cut short by death when he was only twenty-five years old. Of him Halleck wrote:

“None knew thee but to love thee,

Nor named thee but to praise.”

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On the martyred patriot's bed,
And the rocks shall raise their head,

Of his deeds to tell ?

Biographical and Historical: John Pierpont was a Unitarian clergyman of Connecticut, who published several volumes of poetry. General Joseph Warren was one of the generals in command of the patriot army at the battle of Bunker Hill, and was killed in the battle. He was counted one of the bravest and most unselfish patriots of the Revolutionary War. In this poem we have the poet's idea of how General Warren inspired his men.

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*Taken from The Complete Poetical Works of Joaquin Miller (copy. righted), by permission of The Whitaker & Ray Company.


They sailed and sailed, as winds might blow,

Until at last the blanched mate said:
“Why, now not even God would know

Should I and all my men fall dead.
These very winds forget their way,

For God from these dread seas is gone,
Now speak, brave Admiral, speak and say”—

He said: "Sail on! sail on! and on!"


They sailed. They sailed. Then spake the mate;

“This mad sea shows his teeth to-night.
He curls his lip, he lies in wait,

With lifted teeth, as if to bite !
Brave Admiral, say but one good word:

What shall we do when hope is gone?”
The words leapt like a leaping sword;

“Sail on! sail on! and on!”


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Then, pale and worn, he kept his deck,

And peered through darkness. Ah, that night
Of all dark nights! And then a speck-

A light! A light! A light! A light!
It grew, a starlit flag unfurled !

It grew to be Time's burst of dawn.
He gained a world; he gave that world

Its grandest lesson: “On! sail on!”


Biographical and Historical: Cincinnatus Heine Miller (Joaquin [hoa'kin] Miller) was born in Indiana in 1841. Joining the general movement to the West after the discovery of gold, his parents moved to the Pacific coast in 1850.

“In point of power, workmanship, and feeling, among all the poems written by Americans, we are inclined to give first place to ‘The Port of Ships,' or 'Columbus,' by Joaquin Miller.”—London Athenaeum.

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