Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
On the Capture of the Guerriere
Captain Dacres, August 19, 1812, by the American frigate Constitution, Captain Hull

An Irregular Ode

LONG, the tyrant of our coast,
  Reign’d the famous Guerriere;
Our little navy she defied,
  Public ship and privateer:
On her sails, in letters red,        5
To our captains were display’d
Words of warning, words of dread,
“All who meet me, have a care!
I am England’s Guerriere.” 1
On the wide Atlantic deep        10
  (Not her equal for the fight)
The Constitution, on her way,
  Chanced to meet these men of might:
On her sails was nothing said:
But her waist the teeth display’d        15
That a deal of blood could shed;
Which, if she would venture near,
Would stain the decks of the Guerriere.
Now our gallant ship they met—
  And, to struggle with John Bull—        20
Who had come, they little thought,
  Strangers, yet, to Isaac Hull;
Better, soon, to be acquainted,
Isaac hail’d the Lord’s anointed—
While the crew the cannon pointed,        25
And the balls were so directed
With a blaze so unexpected;
Isaac did so maul and rake her,
That the decks of Captain Dacre
Were in such a woful pickle,        30
As if death, with scythe and sickle,
With his sling or with his shaft
Had cut his harvest fore and aft.
Thus, in thirty minutes, ended
Mischiefs that could not be mended:        35
Masts, and yards, and ship descended,
All to David Jones’s locker—
Such a ship in such a pucker!
Drink about to the Constitution!
She perform’d some execution,        40
Did some share of retribution
  For the insults of the year
  When she took the Guerriere.
May success again await her,
  Let who will again command her,        45
Bainbridge, Rodgers, or Decatur:
  Nothing like her can withstand her
With a crew like that on board her
Who so boldly call’d “to order”
One bold crew of English sailors,        50
Long, too long, our seamen’s jailors—
  Dacres and the Guerriere!
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