“Old Ironsides” by Oliver Wendell Holmes

1. What was the poet’s purpose in writing this poem?
The poet wrote this poem in protest of the dismantling of a ship, hoping to move others to his cause.

2. Locate two metaphors Holmes uses for the ship in the body of the poem.
Holmes refers to the ship as the “meteor of the ocean air” and “the eagle of the sea.”

The Destruction of Sennacherib

3. What drastic fate does the narrator suggest would be better for the ship than the dismantling of it?
The narrator suggests that it would be better for the ship to simply sink into the sea.

4. The first word of the poem is “Ay,” or “yes.” To whom is the speaker saying “Ay”?
The speaker is saying “Ay” to those who would dismantle the ship.

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