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Politics

Full lyrics: ‘Maryland, My Maryland,’ the controversial state song

Maryland lawmakers are weighing whether to strike the state song from the list of state symbols enshrined in the law due to its pro-Confederacy lyrics.

The current state song, “Maryland, My Maryland,” is set to a tune many know as “O Tannenbaum” or “O Christmas Tree.” The lyrics are from a nine-stanza poem written in 1861 by James Ryder Randall, who was distraught who was distraught about a friend who was shot during a melee when Union troops marched through Baltimore en route to Washington.

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Here are the full lyrics, according to the Maryland State Archives:

I

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The despot’s heel is on thy shore,

Maryland!

His torch is at thy temple door,

Maryland!

Avenge the patriotic gore

That flecked the streets of Baltimore,

And be the battle queen of yore,

Maryland! My Maryland!

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II

Hark to an exiled son’s appeal,

Maryland!

My mother State! to thee I kneel,

Maryland!

For life and death, for woe and weal,

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Thy peerless chivalry reveal,

And gird thy beauteous limbs with steel,

Maryland! My Maryland!

III

Thou wilt not cower in the dust,

Maryland!

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Thy beaming sword shall never rust,

Maryland!

Remember Carroll’s sacred trust,

Remember Howard’s warlike thrust,

And all thy slumberers with the just,

Maryland! My Maryland!

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IV

Come! ‘tis the red dawn of the day,

Maryland!

Come with thy panoplied array,

Maryland!

With Ringgold’s spirit for the fray,

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With Watson’s blood at Monterey,

With fearless Lowe and dashing May,

Maryland! My Maryland!

V

Come! for thy shield is bright and strong,

Maryland!

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Come! for thy dalliance does thee wrong,

Maryland!

Come to thine own anointed throng,

Stalking with Liberty along,

And chaunt thy dauntless slogan song,

Maryland! My Maryland!

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VI

Dear Mother! burst the tyrant’s chain,

Maryland!

Virginia should not call in vain,

Maryland! She meets her sisters on the plain

“Sic semper!” ‘tis the proud refrain

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That baffles minions back again,

Maryland!

Arise in majesty again,

Maryland! My Maryland!

VII

I see the blush upon thy cheek,

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Maryland!

For thou wast ever bravely meek,

Maryland!

But lo! there surges forth a shriek,

From hill to hill, from creek to creek

Potomac calls to Chesapeake

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Maryland! My Maryland!

VIII

Thou wilt not yield the Vandal toll,

Maryland!

Thou wilt not crook to his control,

Maryland!

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Better the fire upon thee roll, Better the blade, the shot, the bowl,

Than crucifixion of the soul,

Maryland! My Maryland!

IX

I hear the distant thunder-hum,

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Maryland!

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The Old Line’s bugle, fife, and drum,

Maryland!

She is not dead, nor deaf, nor dumb

Huzza! she spurns the Northern scum!

She breathes! she burns! she’ll come! she’ll come!

Maryland! My Maryland!


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