Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
Old England, Forty Years Ago—1815
 
OLD England, forty years ago,
  When we were young and slender,
She aim’d at us a mortal blow,
  But God was our defender.
Jehovah saw her horrid plan,        5
  Great Washington he gave us:
His holiness inspired the man
  With skill and power to save us.
 
She sent her fleet and armies o’er,
  To ravage, kill, and plunder:        10
Our heroes met them on the shore,
  And drove them back with thunder.
Our independence they confess’d,
  And with their hands they sign’d it:
But on their hearts ’twas ne’er impress’d,        15
  For there I ne’er could find it.
 
And since that time they have been still
  Our liberties invading;
We bore it, and forbore until
  Forbearance was degrading:        20
Regardless of the sailor’s right,
  Impress’d our native seamen,
Made them against their country fight,
  And thus enslaved our freemen.
 
Great Madison besought the foe;        25
  He mildly did implore them
To let the suffering captives go,
  But they would not restore them.
Our commerce, too, they did invade,
  Our ships they search’d and seized,        30
Declaring, also, we should trade
  With none but whom they pleased.
 
Thus Madison in thunder spake:—
  “We’ve power, and we must use it;
Our freedom surely lies at stake,        35
  And we must fight, or lose it.
We’ll make old England’s children know
  We are the brave descendants
Of those who flogg’d their fathers so,
  And gain’d our independence.        40
 
“Our soldiers, and our seamen, too,
  We’ve put in warlike motion:”
Straight to the field our soldiers flew,
  Our seamen to the ocean.
They met their foes on towering waves,        45
  With courage, skill, and splendour;
They sunk them down to watery graves,
  Or forced them to surrender.
 
Decatur, Hull, and Bainbridge dear,
  Did wonders in our navy:        50
Brave Captain Hull sunk the Guerriere,
  And Bainbridge sunk the Java;
Decatur took a ship of fame,
  High on the waving water,
(The Macedonian was her name,)        55
  And home in triumph brought her.
 
Perry, with flag and sails unfurl’d,
  Met Barclay on Lake Erie;
At him his matchless thunders hurl’d,
  Till Barclay grew quite weary.        60
He gain’d the victory and renown,
  He work’d him up so neatly:
He brought old England’s banners down,
  And swept the lake completely.
 
Proud Downie fell on Lake Champlain,        65
  By fortune quite forsaken;
He was by bold M’Donough slain,
  And all his fleet were taken.
Whene’er they met Columbia’s sons,
  On lakes or larger waters,        70
They sunk beneath her thundering guns,
  Or humbly cried for quarters.
 
When Prevost saw he’d lost his fleet,
  He gave out special orders
For his whole army to retreat,        75
  And leave the Yankee borders.
Through dreary wilds, o’er bog and fen,
  The luckless general blunder’d:
He fled, with fifteen thousand men,
  From Macomb’s fifteen hundred.        80
 
Let William Hull be counted null,
  And let him not be named
Upon the rolls of valiant souls—
  Of him we are ashamed;
For his campaign was worse than vain;        85
  A coward and a traitor!
For paltry gold his army sold
  To Brock, the speculator.
 
When Proctor found brave Harrison
  Had landed on his region,        90
Away the timorous creature ran,
  With all his savage legion—
But overtaken were, and most
  Of them were kill’d and taken:
But Proctor soon forsook his post,        95
  And fled, to save his bacon.
 
At Little York, beneath the guns
  Of Chauncey, Pike was landed,
And quickly made old England’s sons
  Resign what he demanded.        100
From George’s fort to Erie’s beach
  Our savage foes were beaten:
Their naked bones were left to bleach,
  When wolves their flesh had eaten.
 
How often Brown made Drummond fly        105
  From scenes of desolation:
The terror of his noble eye
  Struck him with consternation.
Brave Miller, Ripley, Gaines, and Scott,
  At Erie and Bridgewater,        110
At Chippewa, in battles hot,
  Their bravest foes did slaughter.
 
At Washington, their horrid crimes
  Must tarnish British glory:
Children will blush, in future times,        115
  To read this shameful story.
They burn’d the volumes which comprised
  The best of information:
Their barbarous deeds will be despised
  By every Christian nation.        120
 
At Baltimore a deadly blow
  The sons of mischief aim’d;
The sons of Freedom met their foe,
  And victory justly claim’d.
Amidst their ranks our thunder burst,        125
  Many were kill’d and wounded;
Their chief commander bit the dust,
  And all their schemes confounded.
 
What wonders did brave Jackson do,
  When aided by kind Heaven!        130
Their leader and four thousand slew,
  And lost but only seven.
Some interposing angel’s hand
  Repell’d their vile intrusion;
The remnant of their broken band        135
  Fled off, in sad confusion.
 
They pass’d through numerous trying scenes,
  In most of them defeated;
Their grand defeat, at New Orleans,
  The bloody scene completed.        140
Soon after this, sweet peace arrived;
  Our armies were disbanded;
Our scatter’d foes who had survived
  The war, were home commanded.
 
What has our infant country gain’d        145
  By fighting that old nation?
Our liberties we have maintain’d,
  And raised our reputation.
We’ve gain’d the freedom of the seas;
  Our seamen are released:        150
Our mariners trade where they please;
  Impressments, too, have ceased.
 
Now in ourselves we can confide,
  Abroad we are respected:
We’ve check’d the rage of British pride,        155
  Their haughtiness corrected.
First, to the God of boundless power
  Be thanks and adoration:
Next, Madison, the wondrous flower,
  And jewel of our nation.        160
 
Next, Congress does our thanks demand:
  To them our thanks we tender;
Our heroes next, by sea and land,
  To them our thanks we render.
Let us be just, in union live,        165
  Then who will dare invade us?
If any should, our God will give
  His angels charge to aid us.
 
 
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