Nail to the mast her holy flag,
Set every threadbare sail,
And give her to the god of storms,
The lightning and the gale!
Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote "Old Ironsides" in 1830, to remind patriots that the U. S. Frigate Constitution had served well against the Barbary pirates, the French, the British (in her most famous battle in the War of 1812 she reduced the lighter Guerriere to smoking smithereens). The poem saved the Constitution from the junk pile. From grog tub to untattered sails, she was still shipshape last week, afloat at the Boston Navy Yard and useful mainly for show to...