Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
British Lamentation
COME, all ye heroes, wherever you be,
That walk by land or sail by sea,
Come, hear the words of a dying man;
I’m sure you will remember them.
In seventy-five, that fatal year,        5
As by record doth appear;
’Twas on the fourteenth day of May,
Our fleet set sail for America.
’Twas on that dark and dismal time,
When we set sail for the northern clime;        10
Our drums did beat, and trumpets sound,
And unto Boston we were bound.
And when to Boston we had come,
We thought by our British drums
To drive those rebels from the place,        15
Which fill’d our hearts with sore disgrace.
But, to our sad and sore surprise,
We saw them like grasshoppers rise;
They fight like heroes much enraged,
Which surely frighten’d General Gage.        20
We saw those brave American sons
Spread death and slaughter from their guns.
Freedom or death! those heroes cry,
I’m sure they’re not afraid to die.
Like lions watching for their prey,        25
They fear no danger nor dismay;
True British blood runs through their veins,
And them with courage yet sustains.
We sailed to York, as you’ve been told,
By the loss of many a Briton bold,        30
To make those rebels own their king,
And daily tribute to him bring.
In York were many traitors found,
False to the state where they belong’d,
They told us we might gain the day,        35
There was no danger, they did say.
They said it was a garden place,
And that our armies might be safe,
Burn down your towns, lay waste your land,
In spite of all your boasting bands.        40
A garden place it was indeed,
And in it grows a bitter weed,
Which will put down our brightest hopes,
And sorely wound our British troops.
It is a year the nineteenth day,        45
Since first we came to America:
Full fifteen hundred have been slain,
Bold British heroes every one.
Now I’ve received my mortal wound,
I bid adieu to Old England’s ground:        50
My wife and children mourn for me,
When I lay cold in America.
Fight on, fight on, American boys,
Fear not Old England’s thundering noise;
Maintain your rights from year to year,        55
God’s on your side—you need not fear.
The glory of Great Britain’s isle
Is now eclipsed for a while,
It shining bright in meridian year,
Because our king was quite severe.        60
His crown will fade most certainly,
A reward for all his cruelty:
Americans will their rights maintain,
While proud Old England sinks in shame.

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