Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
Decatur’s Victory
Tune—“Ye Tars of Columbia”

THE BANNER of Freedom high floated unfurl’d,
While the silver tipt surges in low homage curl’d,
Flashing bright round the bow of Decatur’s brave bark,
In contest, an eagle—in chasing, a lark.
  The bold “United States,”        5
  Which four-and-forty rates,
  Shall ne’er be known to yield—be known to yield or fly—
  Her motto is “Glory! we conquer or die.”
All canvass extended to woo the coy gale,
The ship clear’d for action, in chase of a sail:        10
The foeman in view, every bosom beats high,
All eager for conquest, or ready to die.
      The bold United States, &c.
Now havoc stands ready, with optics of flame,
And battle-hounds “strain on the start” for the game.
The blood demons rise on the surge for their prey,        15
While pity, dejected, awaits the dread fray.
      The bold United States, &c.
The gay-floating streamers of Britain appear,
Waving light in the breeze, as the stranger we near;
And now could the quick-sighted Yankee discern,
Macedonian emblazoned at large on her stern.
      The bold United States, &c.
She waits our approach, and the contest began,
But to waste ammunition is no Yankee plan;
In awful suspense every match was withheld,
While the bull-dogs of Britain incessantly yell’d:
      The bold United States, &c.
Unawed by her thunders, alongside we came,        25
While the foe seem’d enwrapp’d in a mantle of flame,
When, prompt to the word, such a flood we return,
That Neptune, aghast, thought his trident would burn.
      The bold United States, &c.
Now the lightning of battle gleams horribly red,
With a tempest of iron, and a hail-storm of lead:        30
And our fire on the foe was so copiously pour’d,
His mizen and top-masts soon went by the board.
      The bold United States, &c.
So fierce and so bright did our flashes aspire,
They thought that their cannon had set us on fire—
“The Yankees on flames,” every British tar hears,        35
And hail’d the false omen with three hearty cheers.
      The bold United States, &c.
In seventeen minutes, they found their mistake,
And were glad to surrender, and fall in our wake,
Her decks were with carnage and blood deluged o’er,
Where, weltering in blood, lay a hundred and four.
      The bold United States, &c.
But though she was made so completely a wreck,
With blood they had scarcely encrimson’d our deck;
Only five valiant Yankees in battle was slain,
And our ship in five minutes was fitted again.
      The bold United States, &c.
Let Britain no longer lay claim to the seas,        45
For the trident of Neptune is ours, if we please.
While Hull, and Decatur, and Jones are our boast,
We dare their whole navy to come to our coast.
      The bold United States, &c.
Rise, tars of Columbia, and share in the fame,
Which gilds Hull’s, Decatur’s and Jones’s bright name,        50
Fill a bumper and drink, “Here’s success to the cause,
But Decatur supremely deserves our applause.”
      The bold United States, &c.

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