Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
The Constitution
 
It is said that the following Song was written by an American gentleman at St. Bartholomews

Tune—“The Arethusa”

COLUMBIA’S sons, prepare, unite,
Now for your country’s freedom fight,
And with your sword maintain her right,
  ’Gainst pride and persecution;
And while you scourge our haughty foes,        5
I’ll sing the martial deeds of those,
    Whose metal tried,
    Soon lower’d the pride
Of Dacres, who brave Hull defied,
  On board the Constitution.        10
 
Nineteenth of August, half past two,
And past meridian, came in view
The Guerriere frigate, with her crew,
  All fired with resolution:
The boasting chieftain bent his course,        15
Resolved to put his threats in force,
    And with his guns,
    Subdue the sons
Of Yankees, who no danger shuns,
  On board the Constitution.        20
 
Our gallant ship now swiftly flies,
And every man his gun supplies,
While our commander cheerly cries,
  “Evince your resolution.”
With ardour each to action springs,        25
Whilst with three cheers the welkin rings;
    Our foes, amazed,
    With wonder gazed,
To see Columbia’s standard raised
  On board the Constitution.        30
 
The Guerriere’s balls flew thick and hot
Around us, which we answer’d not,
But steer’d till within pistol shot,
  Resolved on execution.
Our first broadside like thunder roar’d        35
And brought her mizzen by the board;
    Her mainmast too,
    And foremast flew
In pieces, while our jovial crew
  Huzza’d the Constitution.        40
 
When Dacres first received this check,
And saw the Guerriere a wreck,
Himself a prisoner on the deck,
  His ship’s crew in confusion—
Perceived the Yankee boys on board,        45
With grief beheld the union lower’d:
    All hope now fled,
    He, sighing, said,
The god of war to victory led
  The frigate Constitution.        50
 
This Briton oft had made his boast,
He’d with his crew, a chosen host,
Pour fell destruction round our coast,
  And work a revolution;
Urged by his pride, a challenge sent,        55
Bold Rodgers, in the President,
    Wishing to meet
    Him tete-a-tete,
Or one his equal from our fleet—
  Such was the Constitution.        60
 
Columbia’s sons! each jovial soul
Whose glowing breast contemns control,
Rejoice around the sparkling bowl,
  While wine flows in profusion:
First Washington—our country’s boast;        65
The Congress next, shall be our toast,
    One third is due
    Brave Hull and crew;
Then all who hold our rights in view,
  And guard the Constitution.        70
 
 
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