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96. stand by the flag.

     Stand by the Flag!--its stars, like meteors gleaming,
Have lighted Arctic icebergs, Southern seas,
     And shone responsive to the stormy beaming
Of old Arcturus and the Pleiades.

     Stand by the Flag!--its stripes have streamed in glory,
To foes a fear, to friends a festal robe,
     And spread, in rhythmic lines, the sacred story
Of Freedom's triumph over all the globe.

     Stand by the Flag!--on land and ocean billow,
By it your fathers stood, unmoved and true,
     Living defended — dying, from their pillow,
With their last blessing, passed it on to you.

     Stand by the Flag!--immortal heroes bore it
Though sulphurous smoke, deep moat, and armed defence,
     And their imperial shades still hover o'er it--
A guard celestial, from Omnipotence.

     Stand by the Flag!--it is a holy treasure;
Though wrong may dim some stars which should be light,
     A steady, gentle, and persistent pressure,
Kindly exerted, yet will make them bright.

     Stand by the Flag!--though death-shots round it rattle,
And underneath its waving folds have met,
     In all the dread array of sanguine battle,
The quivering lance and glittering bayonet.

     Stand by the Flag!--all doubt and treason scorning--
Believe, with courage firm, and faith sublime,
     That it will float until the eternal morning
Pales, in its glories, all the lights of time!

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