Written in 1904, "The Cop and the Anthem" is a short story by O. Henry, an American author who wrote under this famous pen name; born William Sydney Porter, his stories became known for the surprise twist at the end, and for being set in New York City, which O. Henry referred to himself as Bagdad-on-the-Subway. This story is no different, and contains both of these classic O. Henry elements, as well as a protagonist or hero who is a member of the lower classes. This protagonist, Soapy, is a homeless man who had come to New York to seek his fortune, but for whom the American dream had not yet been realized. He spends much of his time trying to get arrested so that he can spend the cold winter nights in jail instead of freezing outside on the streets.
Like many of O. Henry's short stories, this one was adapted for the big screen and became a segment of O. Henry's Full House, a 1952 film that consisted of multiple vignettes, and was also retrospectively well known for featuring an as-yet-unknown starlet by the name of Marilyn Monroe.