Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
A Pleasant New Song: ‘O! Johnny Bull is much perplex’d’
Chanted by Nathan Whiting (through his nose), for the amusement of the galley slaves on board the Ph‘be, who are allowed to sing nothing but Psalms

O! JOHNNY BULL is much perplex’d,
  And what d’ye think’s the matter?
Because the Yankee frigates sail
  Across the salt sea water.
For Johnny says, “The ocean’s mine,        5
  And all the sailor lads, too;
So pay us tax before you trade,
  And part of each ship’s crew.”
“What! pay you tax!” says Jonathan,
  “For sailing on the water?        10
Give you our lads of Yankee breed?
  I’d sooner give you a halter.
“Free trade and sailors’ rights, John Bull,
  Shall ever be my toast;
Let Johnny but this right invade,        15
  And Johnny Bull I’ll roast.”
John didn’t mind, but took our ships,
  And kidnapp’d our true sailors;
And Jonathan resolved to play
  The d——l among the whalers.        20
Away went frigates four or five,
  To cut up Johnny’s trade,
And long before the year was out
  The squire grew sore afraid.
Some found frigates, some found sloops,        25
  Belonging to John’s navy;
And some they took, and some they burnt,
  And some sent to old Davy.
The saucy Essex, she sail’d out
  To see what she could do;        30
Her captain is from Yankee land,
  And so are all her crew.
Away she sail’d so gay and trim
  Down to the Gallipagos,
And toted all the terrapins,        35
  And nabb’d the slippery whalers.
And where, d’ye guess, we next did go?
  Why, down to the Marquesas;
And there we buried under ground
  Some thousand golden pieces;        40
Then sail’d about the ocean wide,
  Sinking, burning, taking,
Filling pockets, spilling oil,
  While Johnny’s heart was aching.
At length he muster’d up some spunk,        45
  And fitted out three ships, sir:
The Phœbe, Cherub, and Raccoon,
  To make the Yankees skip, sir.
Away they scamper’d round Cape Horn,
  Into the South Sea Ocean,        50
To catch the saucy Yankee ship
  They had a mighty notion.
North, east, and west, and likewise south,
  They fumbled all around;
“Why, where the d——l can she be,        55
  That she cannot be found?”
At length to Valparaiso bay
  They came in mighty funk;
The Yankee boys were then on shore,
  Some sober, and some drunk.        60
Some rode horses, some rode mules,
  And some were riding asses;
Some tippling grog, some swigging wine,
  Some dancing with the lasses.
The signal made all hands on board,        65
  Each man unto his station;
And Johnny he came swaggering by,
  But met some botheration. 1
The Yankee lads all ready were,
  With pistol, sword and gun,        70
In hopes John Bull would run on board
  To have a bit of fun:
But John got clear the best he could,
  And soon came to an anchor,
And hoisted up a printed flag, 2        75
  As big as our spanker.
Some swore it was a morning prayer;
  Some swore ’twas Greek or German;
But Nathan Whiting 3 spelt it out,
  And said it was a sermon.        80
And thus long time in merry mood,
  All side by side we lay,
Exchanging messages and songs
  In Valparaiso bay.
At last John Bull quite sulky grew,        85
  And call’d us traitors all,
And swore he’d fight our gallant crew,
  Paddies and Scots, and all.
Then out he went in desperate rage,
  Swearing, as sure as day,        90
He’d starve us all, or dare us out
  Of Valparaiso bay.
Then out he sail’d in gallant trim,
  As if he thought to fright us,
Run up his flag, and fired a gun,        95
  To say that he would fight us.
Our cables cut, we put to sea,
  And run down on her quarter;
But Johnny clapp’d his helm hard up,
  And we went following after.        100
Says General Wynne, and Squire Roach, 4
  And many more beside,
“We wish those English boys had stay’d,
  We’d show them how to ride.”
In haste to join the Cherub, he        105
  Soon bent his scurvy way,
While we return’d in merry glee,
  To Valparaiso bay.
And let them go—to meet the foe
  We’ll take no further trouble,        110
Since all the world must fairly know
  They’ll only fight us—double.
Ne’er mind, my boys, let’s drink and sing,
  “Free trade and sailors’ rights;”
May liquor never fail the lad        115
  Who for his country fights.
Huzza, my lads—let’s drink and sing!
  And toast them as they run:
Here’s to the sailors and their king,
  Who’ll fight us—two to one.        120
Note 1. The Phœbe nearly ran aboard of the Essex, by accident, as Captain Hillyer said. [back]
Note 2. The flag bearing Captain Hillyer’s long motto. [back]
Note 3. Nathan was, we understand, a tall, long-sided Yankee, and reckoned the best scholar of the whole ship’s crew. [back]
Note 4. Two sailors nicknamed by the crew. [back]

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