Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
On the New American Frigate Alliance—1778
By Philip Freneau (1752–1832)
 
AS Neptune traced the azure main
That own’d, so late, proud Britain’s reign,
A floating pile approach’d his car,
The scene of terror and of war.
 
As nearer still the monarch drew,        5
(Her starry flag display’d to view,)
He ask’d a Triton of his train,
“What flag was this that rode the main?
 
“A ship of such a gallant mien
This many a day I have not seen,        10
To no mean power can she belong,
So swift, so warlike, stout, and strong.
 
“See, how she mounts the foaming wave,
Where other ships would find a grave;
Majestic, awful, and serene,        15
She sails the ocean like its queen.”
 
“Great monarch of the hoary deep,
Whose trident awes the waves to sleep,”
(Replied a Triton of his train,)
“This ship that stems the western main,        20
 
“To those new, rising states belongs,
Who, in resentment of their wrongs,
Oppose proud Britain’s tyrant sway,
And combat her by land and sea;
 
“This pile, of such superior frame,        25
From their strict union takes her name.
For them she cleaves the briny tide,
While terror marches by her side.
 
“When she unfurls her flowing sails,
Undaunted by the fiercest gales,        30
In dreadful pomp she ploughs the main,
While adverse tempests rage in vain.
 
“When she displays her gloomy tier,
The boldest foes congeal with fear,
And, owning her superior might,        35
Seek their best safety in their flight.
 
“But when she pours the dreadful blaze,
And thunder from her cannon plays,
The bursting flash that wings the ball
Compels those foes to strike or fall.        40
 
“Though she, with her triumphant crew,
Might to their fate all foes pursue;
Yet, faithful to the land that bore,
She stays to guard her native shore.
 
“Though she might make the cruisers groan        45
That sail within the torrid zone,
She kindly lends a nearer aid,
Annoys them here, and guards the trade.
 
“Now, traversing the eastern main,
She greets the shores of France and Spain;        50
Her gallant flag, display’d to view,
Invites the old world to the new.
 
“This task achieved, behold her go
To seas congeal’d with ice and snow,
To either tropic, and the line,        55
Where suns with endless fervour shine.
 
“Not, Argo, on thy decks were found
Such hearts of brass as here abound;
They for their golden fleece did fly,
These sail—to vanquish tyranny.”        60
 
 
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