Huzzah!

Ah, what loyal citizen of California doesn’t remember singing the state song, I Love You, California, every morning. Or was it saying the Pledge…my memory’s hazy.

The reason I bring up state songs is not to bring up the ill-fated campaign to make “Born to Run” the New Jersey state song (this town rips the bones from your back; it’s a death trap, it’s a suicide rap; we’ve gotta get out while we’re young.) but rather to point out that the state I currently work in (but do reside in; I’m taxed but not represented, myself) has its own state song, Maryland, My Maryland! Astounding, jaw-droppingly “war-of-Northern-aggression”-style lyrics below the fold.

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!

I see the blush upon thy cheek,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,
Maryland! My Maryland!

Thou wilt not yield the Vandal toll, Maryland!
Thou wilt not crook to his control, Maryland!
Better the fire upon thee roll, Better the shot, the blade, the bowl,
Than crucifixion of the Soul,
Maryland! My Maryland!

I hear the distant thunder-hum, Maryland!
The Old Line 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!

This is apparently sung to the music of “O Tannenbaum.” I don’t really see how.

Comments

  1. #1 Scott Belyea
    September 7, 2007

    This is apparently sung to the music of “O Tannenbaum.” I don’t really see how.

    That’s because you’re missing some words in each of the first two lines of each verse …

    “The despot’s heel is on thy shore, Maryland! My Maryland!

    Now … sing after me … :-)

  2. #2 Jim
    September 7, 2007

    I find that it adds to the experience if you know that the despot in the first verse is Abraham Lincoln and the “patriotic gore” is a reference to an incident at the beginning of the civil war (or possibly before it started, I don’t remember) where a pro-slavery mob attacked Union troops passing through town. The troops fired and some people in the mob were killed. So, yeah, it’s definitely in the “War of Northern Aggression” vein.

    Of course, it’s all the funnier now, considering that, except for small parts of the Eastern Shore, Maryland is not a Southern state at all.

  3. #3 Scott Belyea
    September 7, 2007

    I forgot to ask whether (in the spirit of the song) being Canadian qualifies as being “Northern scum.”

    Given that the “underground railroad” extended into Canada, I suspect that I know what the answer is …

  4. #4 Clay B
    September 7, 2007

    Northern scum! Funny. Especially strange since Maryland was not part of the Confederacy. Certainly southerners think of people from maryland as “yankees”.

    I just learned from Wikipedia that Florida and Michigan have songs with the same tune.

  5. #5 Will "scifantasy" Frank
    September 7, 2007

    The thing is, Maryland probably would have been part of the Confederacy, if Lincoln hadn’t been willing to do quite a bit to keep it…namely, he declared martial law and rounded up and imprisoned some of the larger supporters of secession.

  6. #6 Will "scifantasy" Frank
    September 7, 2007

    The thing is, Maryland probably would have been part of the Confederacy, if Lincoln hadn’t been willing to do quite a bit to keep it…namely, he declared martial law and rounded up and imprisoned some of the larger supporters of secession.

  7. #7 The Ridger
    September 7, 2007

    They don’t write ‘em like that any more. The song was originally intended to whip up the secessionist fervor in the Old Line State – which is south of the Mason-Dixon Line (that’s the Line). It couldn’t be allowed to happen – Washington DC would have been inside the CSA. So there were a certain amount of occupation forces in Maryland, which was a slave state. As Wikipedia puts it:

    Despite widespread support for the Confederate States of America among many wealthy landowners, who had a vested interest in slavery, Maryland did not secede from the Union during the American Civil War. This may be due in part to the temporary suspension of the Legislature by Governor Hicks and arrest of many of its fire eaters by Lincoln prior to its reconvening. Many historians contend that the votes for secession would not have been there regardless of these actions. Of the 115,000 men who joined the militaries during the Civil War, 85,000, or 77%, joined the Union army. To help ensure Maryland’s inclusion in the Union, President Lincoln suspended several civil liberties, including the writ of habeas corpus, an act deemed illegal by Maryland native Chief Justice Roger Taney, ordered US troops to place artillery on Federal Hill to directly threaten the city of Baltimore and helped ensure the election of a new pro-union governor and legislature. As mentioned above, President Lincoln even went so far as to jail certain pro-South members of the state legislature at Fort McHenry including the grandson of Francis Scott Key. The Constitutionality of these actions is still a source of controversy and debate. Because Maryland remained in the Union, it was exempted from the anti-slavery provisions of the Emancipation Proclamation (The Emancipation Proclamation only applied to states in rebellion).

    Anyway, the song is quite a rousing one when sung.

    (Note: I personally am not from Maryland though I live there now; I’m from Tennessee, and I am heartily glad the CSA was defeated and slavery finally abolished.)

  8. #8 The Ridger
    September 7, 2007

    They don’t write ‘em like that any more. The song was originally intended to whip up the secessionist fervor in the Old Line State – which is south of the Mason-Dixon Line (that’s the Line). It couldn’t be allowed to happen – Washington DC would have been inside the CSA. So there were a certain amount of occupation forces in Maryland, which was a slave state. As Wikipedia puts it:

    Despite widespread support for the Confederate States of America among many wealthy landowners, who had a vested interest in slavery, Maryland did not secede from the Union during the American Civil War. This may be due in part to the temporary suspension of the Legislature by Governor Hicks and arrest of many of its fire eaters by Lincoln prior to its reconvening. Many historians contend that the votes for secession would not have been there regardless of these actions. Of the 115,000 men who joined the militaries during the Civil War, 85,000, or 77%, joined the Union army. To help ensure Maryland’s inclusion in the Union, President Lincoln suspended several civil liberties, including the writ of habeas corpus, an act deemed illegal by Maryland native Chief Justice Roger Taney, ordered US troops to place artillery on Federal Hill to directly threaten the city of Baltimore and helped ensure the election of a new pro-union governor and legislature. As mentioned above, President Lincoln even went so far as to jail certain pro-South members of the state legislature at Fort McHenry including the grandson of Francis Scott Key. The Constitutionality of these actions is still a source of controversy and debate. Because Maryland remained in the Union, it was exempted from the anti-slavery provisions of the Emancipation Proclamation (The Emancipation Proclamation only applied to states in rebellion).

    Anyway, the song is quite a rousing one when sung.

    (Note: I personally am not from Maryland though I live there now; I’m from Tennessee, and I am heartily glad the CSA was defeated and slavery finally abolished.)

  9. #9 Scott Spiegelberg
    September 7, 2007

    This song is quoted a lot in the soundtrack to D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation, with those words implied rather than “O Christmas Tree,” as anyone who has seen the movie can imagine.

  10. #10 Brad Holden
    September 7, 2007

    You know, I grew up in Maryland, and I attended K-12 in Maryland public schools.

    I have never, ever, heard of this song. I could tell you the state flower, bird (Oriole of course), and fish (rockfish) but I did not know there was a song until today.

    And I know why.

  11. #11 Craig
    September 8, 2007

    They play that an awful lot at Maryland football games. Firing up a crowd with the rousing music of O Tannenbaum does about as well as one might expect, and may explain the Terrapins football performance.

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