Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
On Sir Henry Clinton’s Recall
From the “Freeman’s Journal,” May 22, 1782

THE DOG that is beat has a right to complain—
Sir Harry returns, a disconsolate swain,
To the face of his master, the devil’s anointed,
To the country provided for thieves disappointed.
Our freedom, he thought, to a tyrant must fall:        5
He concluded the weakest must go to the wall.
The more he was flatter’d, the bolder he grew:
He quitted the old world to conquer the new.
But in spite of the deeds he has done in his garrison,
(And they have been curious beyond all comparison,)        10
He now must go home, at the call of his king,
To answer the charges that Arnold may bring.
But what are the acts that this chief has achieved?
If good, it is hard he should now be aggrieved:
And the more, as he fought for his national glory,        15
Nor valued, a farthing, the RIGHT of the story.
This famous great man, and two birds 1 of his feather,
In the Cerberus frigate came over together:
But of all the bold chiefs that remeasure the trip,
Not two have been known to return in one ship.        20
Like children that wrestle and scuffle in sport,
They are very well pleased as long as unhurt;
But a thump on the nose, or a blow in the eye,
Ends the fray; and they go to their daddy and cry.
Sir Clinton, thy deeds have been mighty and many!        25
You said all our paper was not worth a penny:
(’Tis nothing but rags, 2 quoth honest Will Tryon:
Are rags to discourage the sons of the lion?)
But Clinton thought thus: “It is folly to fight,
When things may by easier methods come right:        30
There is such an art as counterfeit-ation,
And I’ll do my utmost to honour our nation:
“I’ll show this damn’d country that I can enslave her,
And that, by the help of a skilful engraver;
And then let the rebels take care of their bacon;        35
We’ll play ’em a trick, or I’m vastly mistaken.”
But the project succeeded not quite to your liking;
So you paid off your artist, and gave up bill-striking:
But ’tis an affair I am glad you are quit on:
You had surely been hang’d had you tried it in Britain.        40
At the taking of Charlestown you cut a great figure,
The terms you propounded were terms full of rigour,
Yet could not foresee poor Charley’s 3 disgrace,
Nor how soon your own colours would go to the case.
When the town had surrender’d, the more to disgrace ye.        45
(Like another true Briton that did it at ’Statia,)
You broke all the terms yourself had extended,
Because you supposed the rebellion was ended.
Whoever the Tories mark’d out as a Whig,
If gentle, or simple, or little, or big,        50
No matter to you—to kill ’em and spite ’em,
You soon had ’em up where the dogs couldn’t bite ’em.
Then, thinking these rebels were snug and secure,
You left them to Rawdon and Nesbit Balfour:
(The face of the latter no mask need be draw’d on,        55
And to fish for the devil my bait should be Rawdon.)
Returning to York with your ships and your plunder,
And boasting that rebels must shortly knock under,
The first thing that struck you as soon as you landed
Was the fortress at West Point where Arnold commanded.        60
Thought you, “If friend Arnold this fort will deliver,
We then shall be masters of all Hudson’s river;
The east and the south losing communication,
The Yankees will die by the act of starvation.”
So off you sent Andre, (not guided by Pallas,)        65
Who soon purchased Arnold, and with him the gallows:
Your loss, I conceive, than your gain was far greater,
You lost a good fellow and got a damn’d traitor.
Now Carlton comes over to give you relief;
A knight, like yourself, and commander-in-chief;        70
But the chief he will get, you may tell the dear honey,
Will be a black eye, hard knocks, and no money.
Now, with “Britons, strike home!” your sorrows dispel;
Away to your master, and honestly tell,
That his arms and his artists can nothing avail;        75
His men are too few, and his tricks are too stale:
Advise him, at length to be just and sincere,
Of which not a symptom as yet doth appear;
As we plainly perceive from his sending Sir Guy,
Commission’d to steal, and commission’d to lie.        80
Note 1. Generals Howe and Burgoyne. [back]
Note 2. See his Letter to General Parsons. [back]
Note 3. Cornwallis. [back]

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