Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
The Frigate Constitution
By Francis Arden
A new song, sung before the Corporation of the city of New York, the Fourth of July, 1815

Tune—“Maggy Lauder”

ARGO of Greece, that brought the fleece
  To the Thessalian city,
As we are told, by bards of old,
  Was sung in many a ditty.
But Yankees claim a prouder name        5
  To spur their resolution,
Than Greece could boast, and do her most—
  The frigate Constitution.
When first she press’d the stream’s cool breast,
  Hope hail’d her pride of story;        10
Now she o’erpays Hope’s flattering praise,
  By matchless deeds of glory.
Of all that roam the salt sea’s foam,
  None floats to Neptune dearer,
Or fairer shines in Fame’s bright lines,        15
  Or more makes Britain fear her.
’Neath Hull’s command, with a tough band,
  And naught beside to back her,
Upon a day, as log-books say,
  A fleet bore down to thwack her.        20
A fleet, you know, is odds, or so,
  Against a single ship, sirs:
So, cross the tide, her legs she tried,
  And gave the rogues the slip, sirs.
But time flies round, and soon she found,        25
  While ploughing ocean’s acres,
An even chance to join the dance,
  And turn, keel up, poor Dacres.
Dacres, ’tis clear, despises fear—
  Quite full of fun and prank is—        30
Hoists his ship’s name in playful game,
  Aloft, to scare the Yankees.
On Brazil’s coast she ruled the roast,
  When Bainbridge was her captain:
Neat hammocks gave, made of the wave,        35
  Dead Britons to be wrapp’d in:
For there, in ire, midst smoke and fire,
  Her boys the Java met, sirs;
And in the fray, her Yankee play
  Tipp’d Bull a somerset, sirs.        40
Next, on her deck, at Fortune’s beck,
  The dauntless Stewart landed:
A better tar ne’er shone in war,
  Or daring souls commanded.
Old Ironsides, now once more rides,        45
  In search of English cruizers;
And Neptune grins to see her twins,
  Got in an hour or two, sirs.
Then raise amain, the joyful strain,
  For well she has deserved it,        50
Who brought the foe so often low,
  Cheer’d freedom’s heart, and nerved it;
Long may she ride, our navy’s pride,
  And spur to resolution;
And seamen boast, and landsmen toast,        55
  The “Frigate Constitution.”

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