Fifes and Drums/Black Flag!


Run up your Black Flag,
Skull and crossbones display!
Why should you palter—why should you lag?—
    For never was freebooting crew,
From Heligoland to Cathay—
    And the Coast of Barbary, too,
    So deserved the foul ensign as you!

Yes, run up the Black Flag,
    Too long have your colors been hid!
Make good your insolent brag,
    Who have staked off the waters at will,
And the honored sea-law have defied,
    Going forth to plunder and kill!
    You have staked off the waters at will—

What! You yet think to forbid?
    Sea-way for other Flags, too—
    Way for the Red-White-and-Blue!

But it's down with your Black Flag—
    Down, in the end, it must be,
In the depths where you lurk let it drag—
Down to the charnelled abyss . . .
    You hearken the World's decree?—
Pirates were hunted ere this,
    And you shall be swept from the sea!

Edith M. Thomas.