Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
Old Ironsides; or, the U. S. Frigate Constitution
By William Henry King
HAIL! Lion-tamer of the seas,
  Thrice victorious in the fight!
Long float thy starr’d flag in the breeze,
  Conqueror of England’s might.
Thou art our navy’s brightest star,        5
  Our country’s boast besides;
What name’s so dear to each brave tar,
  As thine, “old Ironsides?”
For when our country’s cause seem’d dark,
  And clouds portentous hung,        10
“Broadsides of glory” from thy bark
  A halo round it flung.
The Guerriere’s and Java’s red-cross’d flags
  Submissively came down:
Dacres and Lambert—boasting brags—        15
  Thy prowess had to own.
A trinal triumph has been thine,
  Old cruiser of the seas:
Fame brightest wreaths for thee will twine,
  Proud victor of victories;        20
For sons of freedom serve thy guns,
  And valorous chiefs command;
Columbia’s flag floats o’er her sons—
  A bold, chivalrous band.
Cyanne and Levant’s scuppers ran        25
  With Britain’s bravest blood,
When, battling ’gainst the “rights of man,”
  Her sons so reckless stood.
But, tired at last, fired their lee gun,
  Resistance was in vain.        30
Brave Stewart laurel-wreaths had won,
  Amid a heap of slain!
O, may thy course be “onward” still,
  Thy fate be glorious yet!
The past assures us that it will:        35
  The dazzling sun’s not set!
And future days again see Hull
  Enveloped in victory’s smoke;
Thy Bainbridge conquer’d “old John Bull,”
  And spurn’d his slavish yoke.        40
Thou bearest the image of a chief,
  Whose name, and fame, like thine,
Midst others stands in bold relief,
  And brilliantly doth shine.
Brave Jackson is his country’s boast,        45
  A victor in war, like thee:
He vanquish’d Britain’s choicest host—
  Great champion of Liberty!
God speed thy dashing prow among
  The wild surf’s laving foam!        50
Our harps to sound thy praise are strung,
  When thou returnest home.
For where’s the ship can boast a name
  So glorious on the wave?
Thy crew’s adopted sons of Fame,        55
  The bravest of the brave.

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