Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
Song: ‘O’er the waste of waters cruising’
On Captain Barney’s victory over the ship General Monk, April 26, 1782

O’ER the waste of waters cruising,
  Long the General Monk had reign’d;
All subduing, all reducing,
  None her lawless rage restrain’d.
Many a brave and hearty fellow,        5
  Yielding to this warlike foe,
When her guns began to bellow,
  Struck his humbled colours low.
But, grown bold with long successes,
  Leaving the wide watery way,        10
She, a stranger to distresses,
  Came to cruise within Cape May.
“Now we soon,” said Captain Rogers,
  “Shall their men of commerce meet;
In our hold we’ll have them lodgers,        15
  We shall capture half their fleet.
“Lo! I see their van appearing—
  Back our topsails to the mast:
They toward us full are steering
  With a gentle western blast.        20
I’ve a list of all their cargoes,
  All their guns, and all their men:
I am sure these modern Argos
  Can’t escape us, one in ten.
“Yonder comes the charming Sally,        25
  Sailing with the General Greene:
First we’ll fight the Hyder Ali:
  Taking her is taking them.
She intends to give us battle,
  Bearing down with all her sail:        30
Now, boys, let our cannon rattle;
  To take her we cannot fail.
“Our eighteen guns, each a nine-pounder,
  Soon shall terrify this foe;
We shall maul her, we shall wound her,        35
  Bringing rebel colours low.”
While he thus anticipated
  Conquests that he could not gain,
He in the Cape May channel waited
  For the ship that caused his pain.        40
Captain Barney then preparing,
  Thus address’d his gallant crew:—
“Now, brave lads, be bold and daring,
  Let your hearts be firm and true;
This is a proud English cruiser,        45
  Roving up and down the main:
We must fight her—must reduce her,
  Though our decks be strew’d with slain.
“Let who will be the survivor,
  We must conquer or must die:        50
We must take her up the river,
  Whate’er comes of you or I:
Though she shows most formidable,
  With her eighteen pointed nines,
And her quarters, clad in sable,        55
  Let us balk her proud designs.
“With four nine-pounders and twelve sixes
  We will face that daring band;
Let no dangers damp your courage,
  Nothing can the brave withstand;        60
Fighting for your country’s honour,
  Now to gallant deeds aspire;
Helmsman, bear us down upon her:
  Gunner, give the word to fire.”
Then, yard-arm and yard-arm meeting,        65
  Straight began the dismal fray,
Cannon mouths, each other greeting,
  Belch’d their smoky flames away.
Soon the langrage, grape, and chain-shot,
  That from Barney’s cannons flew,        70
Swept the Monk, and cleared each round-top,
  Killed and wounded half her crew.
Captain Rogers strove to rally:
  But they from their quarters fled,
While the roaring Hyder Ali        75
  Covered o’er his decks with dead.
When from their tops their dead men tumbled,
  And the streams of blood did flow,
Then their proudest hopes were humbled
  By their brave inferior foe.        80
All aghast, and all confounded,
  They beheld their champions fall;
And their captain, sorely wounded,
  Bade them quick for quarter call.
Then the Monk’s proud flag descended,        85
  And her cannon ceased to roar;
By her crew no more defended,
  She confess’d the contest o’er.
Come, brave boys, and fill your glasses,
  You have humbled one proud foe:        90
No brave action this surpasses;
  Fame shall tell the nations so.
Thus be Britain’s woes completed,
  Thus abridged her cruel reign,
Till she, ever thus defeated,        95
  Yields the sceptre of the main.

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