Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
On the Naval Attack near Baltimore—Sept. 1814
By Philip Freneau (1752–1832)
THE SONS of old ocean advanced from the bay
  To achieve an exploit of renown;
And Cochrane and Cockburn commanded that day,
And meant to exhibit a tragical play,
  Call’d the plunder and burning of Baltimore town.        5
The scenes to be acted were not very new,
And when they approach’d, with the rat-tat-too,
  As merry as times would allow,
We ran up the colours to liberty true,
And gave them a shot with a tow-row-dow.        10
By land and by water how many have fail’d
  In attacking an enemy’s town,
But Britons, they tell us, have always prevail’d
Wherever they march’d or wherever they sail’d,
  To honour his majesty’s sceptre and crown:        15
Wherever they went with the trumpet and drum,
And the dregs of the world, and the dirt and the scum,
  As soon as the music begun,
The colours were struck, and surrender’d the town
When the summons was given of down, down, down!        20
But fortune, so fickle, is turning her tide,
  And safe is old Baltimore town,
Though Cockburn and Cochrane, with Ross at their side,
The sons of Columbia despised and defied,
  And determined to batter it down—        25
Rebuff’d and repulsed in disgrace they withdrew,
With their down, down, down, and their rat-tat-too,
  As well as the times would allow:
And the sight, we expect, will be not very new
When they meet us again with our tow-row-dow.        30

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