Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
The Ship, Boys—1813
Tune—“Jack at Greenwich”

COME, messmates, cheerly lead the night,
  And toast each absent beauty;
Mayhap we’ll bleed e’er morning’s light:
  What then? why, ’tis our duty.
On sea or shore, in peace or strife,        5
  Whate’er the cause that breeds it,
A tar knows how to give his life,
  Whene’er his country needs it.
We’ve something, too, to give our foes,
  If they don’t gi’e’s the slip, boys;        10
We’ll give them broadsides, blood, and blows,
  But, “Don’t give up the ship,” boys.
        The ship, boys, &c.
When, o’er Nantasket’s fatal wave,
  Our Lawrence sought the battle,
And for a hero’s crown or grave        15
  Bade all his thunders rattle:
Says he, “My lads, you know the way,
  To fighting foes give slaughter;
And, should our valour win the day,
  Then give the vanquish’d quarter.”        20
But, when capsized, the words that last
  Hung on his dying lips, boys,
Were, “Let our flag still crown the mast,
  And don’t give up the ship,” boys.
        The ship, boys, &c.
On hammock bloody, wet, or dry,        25
  We all must pay our score, boys;
But death and danger’s all my eye;
  We’ve seen their face before, boys.
With Hull, we stood the Guerriere’s force,
  And doff’d the pride of Dacres,        30
Who swore he thought the joke too coarse
  From modest Yankee quakers.
When Bainbridge, too, the good and brave,
  Just spoil’d the Java’s trip, boys.
We swore upon that crimson wave,        35
  We’d ne’er give up our ship, boys.
        The ship, boys, &c.
Now what’s the use to talk all night
  ’Bout Morris, Jones, Decatur?
The foe to beat in equal fight,
  God bless ’em, ’tis their natur’.        40
And long before dishonour’s shoal
  Brings up our gallant navy,
There’s many a noble Briton’s soul
  Must weigh for grim old Davy.
For, all in Scripture lingo pat,        45
  Our chaplain proves it glip, boys,
That “pugnam bonam,” and all that,
  Means, “Don’t give up the ship,” boys.
        The ship, boys, &c.
So, fill to a Yankee seaman’s creed—
  His heart he gives his fairest:        50
His purse and cheer to a brother’s need,
  With songs and fids o’ the rarest:
His hulk, while in life’s tide it lives,
  His country’s arms must lade it;
And when his cruise is up, he gives        55
  His soul to Him that made it.
But, rough or bloody be the wave,
  And e’en in Death’s cold grip, boys
Columbia’s tars, so stanch and brave,
  Will ne’er give up the ship, boys.
        The ship, boys, &c.

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