See in text (Text of the Poem)
The pronoun “her” refers to the title of the poem, “Old Ironsides,” which alludes to the U.S.S. Constitution, a former frigate of the United States Navy and the oldest commissioned naval ship in the world. It was launched in 1797 to protect American merchant ships during the Quasi-War with France (1798–1800) and to fight pirates in the First Barbary War (1801–1805). Ships were normally decommissioned after ten or fifteen years, but the U.S.S. Constitution was involved in multiple military victories throughout the 1810s and became a symbol of national pride. When rumors spread that the ship was being “scrapped” in 1830, Oliver Wendell Holmes published the poem “Old Ironsides” and stirred such public outrage that the ship received $157,000 in repairs.
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