Maryland my Maryland

1861/1799© Music by Hetty and Jennie Cary who put the poem to the music of
O Tannenbaum, original titled Lauriger Horatius and first published 1799. Lyrics (the poem) by James Ryder Randall

Jennie Cary                  *

Hettie Cary                   * Baltimore, Md

James Ryder Randall * Baltimore, Md Jan 1, 1839
† Augusta, Ga Jan 15,1908

A native of Maryland, Randall was teaching in Louisiana in the early days of the Civil War, and he was outraged at the news of Union troops being marched through Baltimore. The poem articulated Randall’s Confederate sympathies. Set to the traditional tune of “Lauriger Horatius” (“O, Tannenbaum”), the song achieved wide popularity in Maryland and throughout the South.i1
It was on April 21, 1861, after a friend was killed in Baltimore less than two weeks after the American Civil War began in South Carolina, this incident stirred Randall’s Southern sympathies. That evening, Randall wrote a nine-stanza poem that is said to be American’s “most martial poem.” It was called Maryland, My Maryland and first published in the New Orleans Sunday Delta April 26, 1861.
The poem, the best known of all the poetry he wrote, quickly found its way back to Baltimore where it was eventually to the familiar music of O Tannenbaum [O Christmas Tree]. It became instantly popular and the most famous war song of the Confederacy.i2

Baltimore sisters Hetty and Jennie Cary, along with their cousin, Constance, were chosen to make the first battle flags carried in action by the Southern forces in the summer of 1861.  Hetty presented hers to General Joseph E. Johnston; Jennie’s to General P.G.T. Beauregard, and Constance’s to General Earl Van Dorn.  Jennie adapted James Ryder Randall’s words to the tune Tannenbaum.  General Beauregard invited the Cary’s to visit the army in camp, near Manassas.  After dining in the general’s tent, they were serenaded by the Washington Artillery band.  To close the program, Jennie sang Maryland, My Maryland.  It was the first time the troops had heard the song.  As Hetty later wrote, “There was not a dry eye in the tent.”

Maryland my Maryland was adopted as the State song in 1939 of Maryland.i1
The poem is to be sing at the part of Maryland, my Maryland known as Oh Tannenbaum.

The original poem:

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!


Hark to an exiled son’s appeal, Maryland!
My mother State! to thee I kneel, Maryland!
For life and death, for woe and weal,
Thy peerless chivalry reveal,
And gird they beauteous limbs with steel,
Maryland! My Maryland!


Thou wilt not cower in the dust, Maryland!
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!


Come! ’tis the red dawn of the day, Maryland!
Come with thy panoplied array, Maryland!
With Ringgold’s spirit for the fray,
With Watson’s blood at Monterey,
With fearless Lowe and dashing May,
Maryland! My Maryland!


Come! for thy shield is bright and strong,
Come! for thy dalliance does thee wrong,
Come to thine own anointed throng,
Stalking with Liberty along,
And chaunt thy dauntless slogan song,
Maryland! My Maryland!


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
That baffles minions back amain, Maryland!
Arise in majesty again,
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 blade, the shot, the bowl,
Than crucifixion of the soul,
Maryland! My Maryland!


I hear the distant thunder-hum, Maryland!
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!

Sources (internet):