Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
The Rifleman’s Song at Bennington—1777
 
From the New York Mirror

WHY come ye hither, stranger?
  Your mind what madness fills?
In our valleys there is danger,
  And danger on our hills!
Hear ye not the singing        5
  Of the bugle, wild and free?
Full soon ye’ll know the ringing
  Of the rifle from the tree!
    The rifle, the sharp rifle!
    In our hands it is no trifle!        10
 
Ye ride a goodly steed;
  He may know another master:
Ye forward come with speed,
  But ye’ll learn to back much faster,
When ye meet our mountain boys        15
  And their leader, Johnny Starke!
Lads who make but little noise,
  But who always hit the mark
    With the rifle, the true rifle!
    In their hands will prove no trifle!        20
 
Had ye no graves at home
  Across the briny water,
That hither ye must come,
  Like bullocks to the slaughter?
If we the work must do,        25
  Why, the sooner ’tis begun,
If flint and trigger hold but true,
  The quicker ’twill be done
    By the rifle, the good rifle!
    In our hands it is no trifle!        30
 
 
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