So Fleeting is Fame

Allen G. Thurman
Allen G. Thurman … in stereo!


Air—”When Freedom from Her Mountain Height

When Free Trade, from her topmost crag,
Unfurled her standard to the air,
She thrust aside the old time flag,
And set a big bandanna there.
She sprinkled o’er its crimson dyes
The dust that in a snuff-box lies;
She striped its folds, red as a rose,
With snuff that tickles Thurman’s nose.

When Thurman shall have snuffed and sneezed,
In “noblest Roman,” Ha-kitch-oo,
The Demmies all, with noses greased,
Will join the sneezing chorus too.
However loud they sneeze and blow,
‘Twill be a sound of dismal woe
Compared to that deep-throated cheer
We’ll raise for Harrison, this year.

The sound of Allen Thurman’s sneeze
Will pierce the Solid South’s ears through.
‘Twill go to Britons o’er the seas,
And they will sneeze by cable, too.
But when the North shall raise her shout,
‘Twill drown these foreign sneezers out,
And all the snoozers here at home
Who love this gentleman from Rome!

We love the old Red, White and Blue,
That Freedom long ago unfurled;
We love our glorious country, too,
The fairest one in all the world!
We love our mines, we love our mills,
With fervor that our heart-strings thrills.
And we’ll prosperity protect,
And see our Harrison elect!


“When Freedom From Her Mountain Height” was a poem by  Joseph Rodman Drake (1795–1820) titled “The American Flag.”  It was set to music  by Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835).   For a while “The American Flag” was a competitor with Francis Key’s “The Star Spangled Banner,” which many felt was too warlike.

Such is fame!  Today I find no recording on the Google-indexed web of anyone singing the song.

Dvořák used the same poem in his “American Flag” cantata four years after the date of this songbook.

The present song derides Democrat Allen Thurman (the vice-presidential candidate) the red bandanna he habitually carried, and his frequent nose-blowing.  Free Trade was a Democratic position.   Thurman’s nickname was “The Old Roman.”

Democrats were seen as the party of the South, and Free Trade was seen as an English plot.

Harrison, the Republican presidential candidate, favored protectionism,  which in theory would guard America’s mines and mills.

Tomorrow: Harrison’s the Dandy

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