"Old Ironsides" Oliver Wendell Holmes SR

"tear her tattered ensign down!"


This poem is about a great and mighty ship of war that has fallen not by man, but by storm.

"The eagle of the sea!"


In Stanza one the author begins to gives details of the ship. It has in the first line, "tattered ensign," which shows the age of the ship along with the phrase,"Long has it waved on high." both of these particular choices of phrasing show that "Old Ironsides" is indeed an old ship. Further in the stanza it uses words and phrases like,"rung the battle shout," and ,"burst the cannon's roar." These phrases insist that it is indeed a naval warship. Along with that the words "rung" and "burst" give accredit to the valiant and mighty power of the ship. Then in the last line in the first stanza it alludes to what the second stanza will hold, that the ship has finally been vanquished.

"The meteor of the ocean air Shall sweep the clouds no more!"

In stanza two the first word that particularly stands out is "once", this insist that the author is speaking in past tense, looking back on the ship. It details it was "once" a mighty ship of heroes, where many bravely died to conquer it's enemies, as it says," once red with heroes' blood; Where knelt the vanquished foe[.]" It then gives further emphasis on the fact that the ship is no longer in use as it pictures the ocean not feeling the "victor's tread" or its tread/ sailing through the water. Along with that it shows that the ship is no longer "conquer[ing]" any enemies. This further insist that the ship is done for. Finally in the last two lines its uses the word "harpies" these are ancient greek monster that commonly represent storms, thus it insist that the ship should go down in the ocean by storms heading to land.

"No more shall feel the victor's tread"

In stanza three, the author insists that it is in fact better for the ship to sink in the sea. It says," Her thunders shook the mighty deep, And there should be her grave." Thus saying that the waters that it once conquered as her own should remain hers in death. It then insists on giving the ship back to the sea and letting it sail free towards the merciless ocean. Giving it back to the harpies, which are represented by the "lighting and the gale[.]"

" Her thunders shook the mighty deep, And there should be her grave"


Created with images by valditek - "sun set red" • Mediamodifier - "usa american flag cracked usa flag" • apasciuto - "Ocean"

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