Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
On the British Blockade, and Expected Attack on New York
By Philip Freneau (1752–1832)

OLD Neversink 1 with bonnet blue,
The present times may surely rue
When told what England means to do;
Where from the deep his head he rears
The din of war salutes his ears,        5
That teased him not for thirty years.
He eastward looks towards the main
To see a noisy naval train
Invest his bay, our fleets detain.
What can be done in such a case?—        10
His rugged heights the blast must face,
The storm that menaces the place.
With tents I see his mountain spread,
The soldier to the summit led,
And cannon planted on his head:        15
From Shrewsbury beach to Sandy Hook
The country has a martial look,
And Quakers skulk in every nook.
What shall be done in such a case?
We ask again with woful face,        20
To save the trade and guard the place?
Where mounted guns the port secure,
The cannon at the embrasure,
Will British fleets attempt to moor?
Perhaps they may—and make a dash        25
To fill their pockets with our cash—
Their dealings now are rather harsh.
They menace to assail the coast
With such a fleet and such a host
As may devour us, boil’d or roast.        30
Their feelings are alive and sore
For what they got at Baltimore,
When, with disgrace, they left the shore,
And will revenge it, if they can,
On town and country, maid and man;        35
And all they fear is Fulton’s plan;
Torpedoes planted in the deep,
Whose blast may put them all to sleep,
Or ghostify them at a sweep.
Another scheme, entirely new,        40
Is hammering on his anvil too,
That frightens Christian, Turk and Jew.
A frigate, 2 mounting thirty-six!—
Whoe’er with her a quarrel picks
Will little get but cuffs and kicks.        45
A frigate meant to sail by steam!—
How can she else but torture them,
Be proof to all their fire and flame!
A feast she cooks for England’s sons,
Of scalded heads and broken bones,        50
Discharged from iron-hearted guns.
Black Sam 3 himself, before he died,
Such suppers never did provide;
Such dinners roasted, boil’d, and fried.
To make a brief of all I said,        55
If to attack they change blockade,
Their guard-ships shall be well repaid
With water scalding from the pot,
With melted lead, and flaming shot,
With vollies of—I know not what.        60
The British lads will be so treated:
Their wooden walls will be so heated,
Their ruin will be soon completed.
Our citizens shall stare and wonder—
The Neversink repel their thunder,        65
And Cockburn miss a handsome plunder.
Note 1. The Highlands, a little southward of Sandy Hook; being a tract of bold, high country, several thousand acres in extent; to the southward of which there is no land that may be termed mountainous, on the whole coast of the United States to Cape Florida. The real aboriginal name of this remarkable promontory was Navesink, since corrupted into Neversink. [back]
Note 2. The steam frigate, Fulton the First: “Qui me percellit, morti debetur;” “Who strikes at me to death is doomed!” [back]
Note 3. A character well known in New York, several years since, remarkable for elegance and luxurious refinements in the art of cookery. [back]

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