Henry Holcomb Bennett (1863-1924) was a one-hit wonder poet but enough to merit inclusion in this collection, Poetic Justice: Law Poems.

Though the American writer did publish other poems in his lifetime, none ever received the public acclaim as did his patriotic 1919 poem Hats Off: The Flag Goes By.

The fourth stanza refers to "equal justice, right and law" as facilitator of "days of plenty and years of peace; march of a strong land’s swift increase".

Since publication, the poem was set to a melody and is now a regular at July 4 celebrations in the United States of America.

Along the street there comes
A blare of bugles, a ruffle of drums,
A flash of color beneath the sky.
Hats off! The flag is passing by!

Blue and crimson and white it shines,
Over the steel-tipped, ordered lines.
Hats off! The colors before us fly.
But more than the flag is passing by.

US flag stampSea-fights and land-fights, grim and great,
Fought to make and to save the State.
Weary marches and sinking ships;
Cheers of victory on dying lips;
 
Days of plenty and years of peace;
March of a strong land’s swift increase;
Equal justice, right and law,
Stately honor and reverend awe;

Sign of a nation, great and strong.
To ward her people from foreign wrong.
Pride and glory and honor - all!
Live in the colors to stand or fall.

Hats off! Along the street there comes
A blare of bugles, a ruffle of drums.
And loyal hearts are beating high.
Hats off! The flag is passing by!

REFERENCES:

  • Hazen, E., editor, The Columbia Granger's Dictionary of Poetry Quotations (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992), pages 39-40.