Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
To a Quidnunc
NAY, prithee, leave that doleful phiz,
In truth, you look a very quiz
  Of hypochondriac sorrow.
When things are at their worst, my friend,
’Tis wisely thought that they must mend:        5
  Perhaps they’ll mend to-morrow.
If not to-morrow, then the next:
And if not then, why, be not vex’d:
  You thus will cheat the devil;
Who, not content with present ills,        10
Each quidnunc’s brain with terror fills,
  Foreboding future evil.
Why should you feel such deep chagrin,
If Yankee doctors do convene
  To mend our constitution:        15
Whether or not we’ve real disease,
A “consultation” gives us ease,
  So let’s indulge their notion.
And why, my friend, this constant fidget
To turn and twist financial budget,        20
  Puzzling for “ways and means?”
Large “means” to purchase ease are yours,
By “ways” bestrew’d with blooming flowers:
  Then, I prithee, save thy brains.
Man, never wear that brow of gloom,        25
Though ’gainst us that great Hill do come,
  By Gallia’s power unmoved:
But Yankees have a stronger back;
Then rest secure in “faith,” dear Jack;
  Even Hill may be removed.        30
I grant ’tis hard to tax our polls,
It grieves my heart, that tax on soles; 1
  But ridicule he merits,
Who, when each family’s sore oppress’d
By imposts, loans, conscriptions—pest,        35
  Would tax “domestic spirits.”
When Ross our federal city sack’d,
It wrung my withers—that rude act—
  Yet full well he rued his pains:
And should Sir Rowland hither come,        40
To break the peace with noisy drum,
  We will “count upon our Gaines.” 2
Crack jokes, and banish useless fear,
Lend not too free thy open ear
  To every idle rumour;        45
A fig for admirals, red or blue,
Or transports, with their motley crew:
  Transport us with thy humour.
Come quaff this bowl—’twill chase thy pain,
’Tis nectar fill’d from “high Champlain”—        50
  To M’Donough and Macomb:
While deeds like theirs our annals throng,
We soon shall hear the welcome song
  Of proud “Britons striking home.”
Note 1. Tax on leather. [back]
Note 2. When these lines were written, General Gaines commanded in the Pennsylvania district. [back]

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