Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
Captain John Paul Jones’s Victory
Over the British frigate “Serapis,” and “Countess of Scarborough,” sloop of war, on the 23d of September, 1779

AN AMERICAN frigate—a frigate of fame,
With guns mounted forty, “Good man Richard” by name,
Sail’d to cruise in the channel of “merrie England;”
With a valiant commander; Paul Jones was the man.
He had not cruised long before he espies        5
A large forty-four, and a twenty likewise;
Well mann’d with bold seamen, well laid in with stores,
In consort to drive us from old England’s shores.
About twelve at noon, Pearson came alongside,
With a loud speaking-trumpet, “Whence came you?” he cried;        10
“Return me an answer!—I hail’d you before—
Or if you do not, a broadside I will pour.”
Paul Jones then said to his men, every one,
“Let every true seaman stand firm to his gun;
We’ll receive a broadside from this bold Englishman,        15
And, like true Yankee sailors, return it again.”
The contest was bloody, both decks ran with gore,
And the sea seem’d to blaze, while the cannon did roar;
“Fight on, my brave boys,” Paul Jones then he cried,
“And soon we will humble this Englishman’s pride.        20
“Stand firm to your quarters—your duty don’t shun;
The first one that shrinks, through the body I’ll run.
Though their force is superior, yet soon they shall know
What true brave American seamen can do.”
We fought them eight glasses, eight glasses so hot,        25
Till seventy bold seamen lay dead on the spot;
And ninety brave seamen lay stretch’d in their gore,
While the pieces of cannon most fiercely did roar.
Our gunner in a great fright to Captain Jones came—
“We gain water quite fast, and our side’s in a flame;”        30
Then Paul Jones he said, in the height of his pride,
“If we cannot do better, boys, sink alongside.”
The Alliance bore down, while the Richard did rake,
Which caused the bold heart of poor Pearson to ache.
Our shot flew so hot, they could not stand us long,        35
And the undaunted union of Britain came down.
To us they did strike, and their colours haul down:
The fame of Paul Jones to the world shall be known;
His name shall be rank’d with the gallant and brave,
Who fought like a hero our freedom to save.        40
Now, all valiant seamen, where’er you may be,
Who hear of this combat fought on the broad sea,
May you all do like them when call’d to the same,
And your names be enroll’d on the pages of fame.
Your country will boast of her sons that are brave,        45
And to you she will look her from danger to save;
She’ll call you dear sons—in her annals you’ll shine,
And the brows of the brave shall green laurels entwine.
So now, my brave boys, have we taken a prize—
A large forty-four, and a twenty likewise.        50
Then God bless the mother whose doom is to weep
The loss of her sons in the ocean so deep.

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