Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
The Caprice of John Bull’s Taste
AN ANECDOTE the town repeat,
Brought by our prisoners from the fleet,
Shows if John Bull be soundly beat,
  The drubbing mends his manners.
John would, on board his ships, they say,        5
On lowering flag, at eve, each day,
Strike up, in very awkward way,
  Our merry Yankee doodle.
Chuckling with the wondrous jest,
Thus to console each moody guest,        10
The arch rogue tried his very best
  Its cheerful notes to mangle:
But when his valiant host of fame,
Fell before men (without a name,
Mere homespun clowns) they’d tried to tame,        15
  Or, oh, sad! crouch’d in stubble.
Then, of that merry source of fun
So oft that through his ships had run,
No scrape again was heard—not one
  Heart-stirring doodle dandy.        20
The “Shepherds” not of manners rough,
To note the change were kind enough,
Ask’d John Bull—if in a huff—
  He’d doused his Yankee fiddle.
Like statue, Bull, erect and mum,        25
The fit of music would not come,
And grown most eloquently dumb,
  He look’d “I’ll see you d—d first.”

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