The Patriot Ismael Day

William H. Hayward, 1864

Come forth, my muse, now don't refuse;
Assist me in this lay,
To sing of one — "My Maryland's" son —
The patriot Ishmael Day.

One Monday morn, at early dawn,
The hour when good men pray,
A rebel host, with threats and boast,
Came on to scare old Day.

He soon had word — the noise he heard
In the distance far away,
That Gilmore's men were coming then
To capture Ishmael Day.

That's what's the matter — Oh, what a clatter!
I'll keep them awhile at bay,
'Till I hoist my flag, of which I brag —
Said the brave old Ishmael Day.

On rushed the crowd, with curses loud,
Begrimed with dust and gray;
My Flag I'll nail to the garden pale,
And die by it, said Day.

The thieving horde came down the road
They had no time to stay.
"Our flag is here" — touch it who dare,
Shouted old Ishmael Day.

A trooper rushed, with whiskey flushed,
Swore he'd take that rag away.
"Let any man dare try that plan,
I'll shoot him," says old Day.

He feared the cock of his old flint lock
Might miss, so this prayer did say,
That a load of duck-shot might pepper him hot
By the hands of Ishmael Day.

On the raider came — old Day was game —
Reb swore that flag should'nt stay;
With a curse and a frown, cried, Down with it, down!
Bang! blazed away Ishmael Day.

Flint lock he could trust, for down in the dust
The traitorous rebel lay;
Crying, spare my life, I'm tired of this strife —
So am I, said Ishmael Day.

Now let each loyal heart, in our cause take a part,
Do his duty — watch, fight, and pray,
Shoulder his gun, stand by, never run,
And imitate Ishmael Day.

Then we boldly say, a few men like Day,
With guns, ammunition at hand,
We need not be afraid of Gilmor's next raid
On the soil of "My Maryland."

I now close my song, for fear it's too long,
On this subject I could much more say —
Let us all shout hosanna to the Star-spangled Banner,
And hurrah for brave Ishmael Day!

Camp Songs for the Soldier and Poems of Leisure Moments, William H. Hayward, 1864. (note that this copy of Hayward's book was deposited in the Library of Congress on August 30, 1864, The event depicted in this poem occured on July 11, 1864.)