Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
General Burgoyne’s Lamentation
 
Tune—“Irish Lamentation”

YE powers, look down and pity my case,
For the once great Burgoyne is now in distress;
For I am surrounded by a numerous foe,
That I fear my whole army will soon overthrow.
 
O! cursed be the man that did us deceive,        5
And cursed be old Schuyler, that made us believe
He would retreat before us, and make no alarm,
Till we had landed in Albany, free from all harm.
 
Now I am surrounded with sorrow and grief,
Fair Goddess Diana, O send me relief!        10
O send me some comfort, my mind for to feed,
Or bring me a cordial, for I ne’er had more need.
 
And now, fellow-soldiers, what to advise you to,
To go forward we cannot, nor back we can’t go,
For to tarry here we must certainly die—        15
My heart’s overwhelmed, O where shall I fly?
 
What say you, my lads? must we yield unto men
That we have so long held in such great disdain?
And called them rebels and despised Yankees, too,
We have look’d upon them as a cowardly crew;        20
 
Now safety says Yes, but honour says No:
Our case is deplorable, O what shall we do?
Our honour is sweet, but our lives are more dear:
Mine eyes do break forth in a fountain of tears.
 
O! cursed be the day that e’er I came here,        25
And crossed the Atlantic to buy wit so dear:
Yea, cursed be the villain that did us much hurt,
That carried to England so false a report:
 
For ’tis commonly reported in fair England,
That the sight of a Briton would make Yankees run;        30
The report of a cannon would make Yankees fly,
O! were they as numerous as stars in the sky.
 
To my woful experience, I find it was false,
For I find that the Yankees are equal to us;
They will fight with great valour in the open field,        35
Take them in the forest, then Britons must yield:
 
For they’ll shut up one eye, and squint at their gun,
And we surely are dead, as soon as that’s done;
We stand no more chance in the Yankees’ paws,
Than to fling an old cat into hell without claws.        40
 
O! what shall we do?—Diana don’t hear,
To my supplication she turns a deaf ear:
We’ll complain to the gods of our sorrow and wo;
Our good old friend Jupiter will help us, I know.
 
We will call unto Mercury, Saturn also,        45
And likewise mild Venus shall hear of our wo;
If they don’t regard us, we’ll make our complaints
To the Lady Mary and the good old saints.
 
You gentlemen all, think on’t what you will,
We Britons have used the Americans ill;        50
And for the same reason we’re brought into thrall;
We never shall prosper in this war at all.
 
The gods will not hear us, though we cry and weep;
They’re gone a long journey, or else they’re asleep;
They are as regardless of our request,        55
As the British Court is of the American Congress.
 
I think it’s in vain on the gods for to call,
For they are not able to help us at all;
We will go to brave Gates, and bow at his feet,
He will give us an answer, give hopes that are sweet:        60
 
He will grant us the privilege for to march out
With the honours of war, though in the quickest rout:
If he will do so, we will all bless his name,
And let him be crowned with honour and fame.
 
We are all agreed to do as you’ve said,        65
We will go very humble, with hopes on our head,
Acknowledge before him we all deserve death;
If he saves us, we’ll praise him whilst we have breath.
 
We went to his honour, our request he did grant,
His bountiful hand did supply all our wants:        70
He open’d his stores, all our wants to supply—
Let brave Gates’s enemies before him fly.
 
Ye heavens, send down your blessings amain
On the head of brave Gates; let his foes be all slain,
Or otherwise bow to that brave general,        75
And let all his enemies before him fall:
 
For his honour is great and his virtue renown’d,
He scorns in his heart the very thoughts of a clown;
He is gallant and brave, and generous too—
Right honourable general, I bid you adieu.        80
 
 
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