Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
Constitution and Guerriere
 
          A naval victory, obtained by the American frigate Constitution, Captain Hull, over his Britannic majesty’s frigate Guerriere, of forty-nine guns, Captain Dacres.

Tune—“Tally Ho”

YE tars of Columbia! who seek on the main
Redress for the wrongs which your brothers sustain;
Cheer up and be merry, for Mr. John Bull
Has got a sound drubbing from brave Captain Hull.
 
  Sing, smithero, didero, smithero whack,        5
  Let an enemy come, and we’ll trundle him back;
  While the lads of the ocean shall tell the proud elf,
  He may “Go to the devil and shake himself.”
 
The bold Constitution, a ship of some fame—
Sure each jolly sailor remembers her name—        10
On the nineteenth of August o’ertook the Guerriere,
A frigate once captured by John from Monsieur.
      Sing, smithero, &c.
 
At five, post meridian, the action begun,
For she found ’twas in vain any longer to run,
So back’d her maintopsail, prepared for the fray,        15
As a stag, when he’s hunted, will oft stand at bay.
      Sing, smithero, &c.
 
Our drum beat to quarters, each jolly tar hears,
And hail’d the glad signal with three hearty cheers:
All eager for glory, to quarters we fly,
Resolved for to conquer, or bravely to die.
      Sing, smithero, &c.
        20
 
Proud Dacres commanded the enemy’s ship,
Who often has sworn every Yankee to whip;
Who has always boasted, “’twould be his delight,
To meet an American frigate in fight.”
      Sing, smithero, &c.
 
This boasting commander his crew now address’d,        25
(Which was partly composed of Americans “press’d,”)
Says he, “My brave lads, now our wish is fulfill’d,
For ’tis better to capture a ship than to build.
      Sing, smithero, &c.
 
“And you who are tired of our boatswain’s mate’s whip,
And wish to return to some d——d Yankee ship,        30
Twenty minutes, or less, of our fierce British fire
Will gain me their ship, and you your desire.”
      Sing, smithero, &c.
 
Then at it they went, in a deluge of fire,
Each party too stubborn an inch to retire:
Balls, grape-shot, and langrage promiscuously fly,        35
While the thunder of cannon shakes ocean and sky.
      Sing, smithero, &c.
 
At a quarter past six, Yankee shot told so well,
The enemy’s mizenmast totter’d and fell:
While, eager to board him, the order we wait,
His foremast and mainmast both shared the same fate.
      Sing, smithero, &c.
        40
 
Our cabin had now from his guns taken fire,
Yet danger but kindled our courage the higher:
’Twas quickly extinguish’d, while Dacres’ lee gun
Proclaimed his ship ours, and the bloody fight done.
      Sing, smithero, &c.
 
Our prize we then boarded, all arm’d, in a boat,        45
But found her so riddled she’d scarce keep afloat:
Fifteen of her seamen lay dead in their gore,
Where, wounded and groaning, lay sixty-four more.
      Sing, smithero, &c.
 
Our loss was but seven, who died in the cause
Of liberty, glory, religion, and laws;        50
While the like little number will bear to their grave
Indisputable marks that the Yankees are brave.
      Sing, smithero, &c.
 
Now finding our prize lay along on the main,
A wreck that ne’er could be refitted again,
We took out the prisoners, then set her on fire,        55
And soon put an end to the famous Guerriere.
      Sing, smithero, &c.
 
Now fill up your glasses, my lads, to the brim,
And toast noble Hull till in toddy you swim:
Here’s a health to that hero, and all his ship’s crew,
For a braver commander no navy e’er knew.
      Sing, smithero, &c.
        60
 
 
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