Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
Enterprise of Lieut. Somers
 
1804

TOWARDS Afric’s coast the wind did blow,
All hearts were warm’d by valour’s glow,
And eager to chastise the foe
      For acts of daring robbery.
 
Lo! Somers launch’d upon the main,        5
With ten bold seamen in his train,
Tripoli’s port resolved to gain,
      And mar each wall and battery.
 
Forward they press’d on ocean’s wave—
(Wadsworth was there, and Israel, brave!)        10
Nor thought of danger, nor a grave:
      Their thoughts were on the enemy.
 
The bark that sped them to the shore
Of strong gunpowder had a store,
And bomb-shells too she likewise bore—        15
      Dread instruments of misery!
 
As to the port they closely drew,
The enemy appear’d in view;
Two boats approach’d, with each a crew
      Of fifty sons of Tripoli.        20
 
In haste they board—see Somers stand,
Determined, cool, form’d to command,
The match of death in his right hand,
      Scorning a life of slavery.
 
And now, behold! the match applied,        25
The mangled foe the welkin ride:—
Whirling aloft, brave Somers cried,
      “A glorious death or liberty!”
 
The volleying bomb-shells fierce were driven
Impetuous through the vault of Heaven,        30
And infidels, by terror riven,
      With shrieks rent heaven’s canopy.
 
The bashaw from his castle fled,
The bomb-shells thundering o’er his head,
Whilst, strew’d along, the countless dead        35
      Lay prone on earth in agony.
 
And fiercer vengeance still shall flow
Upon the faithless, guilty foe,
When Barron with his fleet shall go,
      And storm that den of roguery.        40
 
Then will our cannon, spouting balls,
In ruins lay their castle’s walls,
Whilst, wrapp’d in flames, each mansion falls,
      And women sue for clemency.
 
Columbians! that will be the hour        45
With mercy so to temper power,
That Virtue shall not on you lour
      An eye that looks severity.
 
And then shall Bainbridge once again
Recross, in liberty, the main,        50
Freed, with his crew, from galling chain,
      And dungeon’s gloomy tenantry.
 
 
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