Actually, Maryland is for lovers

A conversation about whether the state song of New Jersey was really “about having sex on a motorcycle” led to the discovery of this, Maryland’s state song. And what a song it is. (And what a state she was…)

Here’s a taste:

She breathes! she burns! she’ll come! she’ll come!
Maryland! My Maryland!

Read on. Sexy and John Caroll-related parts are bolded for your pleasure.


Maryland My Maryland
Written by James Ryder Randall

The despot’s heel is on thy shore,
Maryland, My Maryland!
His torch is at thy temple door,
Maryland, My 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 Maryland!
My Mother State! to thee I kneel,
Maryland, My 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, My Maryland!
Thy beaming sword shall never rust,
Maryland, My Maryland!
Remember Carroll’s sacred trust,
Remember Howard’s warlike thrust,-

And all they slumberers with the just,
Maryland! My Maryland!

Come! ’tis the red dawn of the day,
Maryland, My Maryland!
Come with thy panoplied array,
Maryland, My 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,
Maryland, My Maryland!
Come! for thy dalliance does thee wrong,
Maryland, My Maryland!
Come! to thine own heroic throng,
Stalking with Liberty along,
And give a new Key to thy song,
Maryland! My Maryland!

Dear Mother! burst the tyrant’s chain,
Maryland, My Maryland!
Virginia should not call in vain!
Maryland, My Maryland!
She meets her sisters on the plain-
“Sic semper!” ’tis the proud refrain
That baffles minions back amain,
Maryland! My Maryland!

I see the blush upon thy cheek,
Maryland, My Maryland!
For thou wast ever bravely meek,
Maryland, My 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, My Maryland!
Thou wilt not crook to his control,
Maryland, My 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, My Maryland!
The Old Line’s bugle, fife, and drum,
Maryland, My 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!

Phew! Think he ever called her?

-Shira Hecht, assistant leisure editor. Flickr photo from cyanocorax.

9 Comments on “Actually, Maryland is for lovers

  1. I think the Carroll referred to is Charles Carroll of Carrollton, John Carroll’s cousin and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Randall went to Georgetown (though didn’t graduate). It’s also virulently pro-Confederacy (The ‘despot’ referred to is Lincoln).

  2. So Charles went to Georgetown in 1789 (or after) but signed the Declaration of Independence 13 years before? Talk about a college application booster.

  3. Madeline, New Jersey’s unofficial state song (the governor never signed off!) is “I’m from New Jersey.” It doesn’t seem to be about having sex on a motorcycle, though both that and New Jersey are messy and unsafe.

    Here are some choices lines:

    “If you want glamour, try Atlantic City or Wildwood by the sea;
    Then there is Trenton, Princeton, and Fort Monmouth, they all made history.”

    Thanks, but I prefer my state songs with a little sexy. Good on Maryland.

  4. ‘Fraid not. Chuck wound up in Europe tooling around in various Catholic English ex-pat universities in France. He did gift something to the University though… his grandmother’s maiden name? Darnall. Not sure how he’d feel about the honor.

  5. The unofficial NJ state song is the overly jolly “I’m from New Jersey” (and I’m proud about it…), but there’s a story that some people wanted to make it “Born to Run.” They played it for the then-governor, and he said absolutely nothing until about 2/3 of the way through (one assumes around the “strap your hands ‘cross my engines!” line), he goes “This song is about having sex on a motorcycle.” Probably apocryphal, but good story.
    The other problem is that “Born to Run,” like many pieces of NJ art, is about LEAVING New Jersey. We just get no respect.

  6. That’s all well and good, but if NJ’s state song is going to be about leaving the state, it should be Less than Jake’s opus, “Never Going Back to New Jersey.”

  7. My vote’s on anything Bon Jovi, maybe “Livin’ on a Prayer.” We have to hold on to what we got: a crappy state song, Bruce Springsteen and 24-hour diners. Also, the line “we’re halfway there,” because if you aren’t from New Jersey, you have no reason to go unless your driving through to get to NY or Philly.

    I’m one of those self-hating Jersians, clearly.

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