Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
A New Song: the King’s Own Regulars, and Their Triumph over the Irregulars
From the Pennsylvanian Evening Post, March 30, 1776

To the tune of “An old Courtier of the Queen’s, and the Queen’s old Courtier,” which is a kind of recitativo, like the chanting of the prose psalms in cathedrals

SINCE you all will have singing, and won’t be said nay,
I cannot refuse, when you so beg and pray;
So, I’ll sing you a song,—as a body may say,
’Tis of the king’s regulars, who ne’er ran away.
  O the old soldiers of the king, and the king’s own regulars.        5
At Prestonpans we met with some rebels one day,
We marshall’d ourselves all in comely array;
Our hearts were all stout, and bid our legs stay,
But our feet were wrong-headed, and took us away.
                    O the old soldiers, &c.
At Falkirk we resolved to be braver,        10
And recover some credit by better behaviour;
We would not acknowledge feet had done us any favour,
So feet swore they would stand, but—legs ran, however.
                    O the old soldiers, &c.
No troops perform better than we at reviews,
We march and we wheel, and whatever you choose;        15
George would see how we fight, and we never refuse,
There we all fight with courage—you may see’t in the news.
                    O the old soldiers, &c.
To Monongahela, with fifes and with drums,
We march’d in fine order, with cannon and bombs;
That great expedition cost infinite sums,        20
But a few irregulars cut us all into crumbs.
                    O the old soldiers, &c.
It was not fair to shoot at us from behind trees:
If they had stood open, as they ought, before our great guns, we should have beat ’em with ease;
They may fight with one another that way, if they please,
But it is not regular to stand, and fight with such rascals as these.
                    O the old soldiers, &c.
At Fort George and Oswego, to our great reputation,
We show’d our vast skill in fortification;
The French fired three guns; of the fourth they had no occasion;
For we gave up those forts,—not through fear, but—mere persuasion.
                    O the old soldiers, &c.
To Ticonderoga we went in a passion,        30
Swearing to be revenged on the whole French nation;
But we soon turn’d tail without hesitation,
Because they fought behind trees,—which is not the regular fashion.
                    O the old soldiers, &c.
Lord Loudon, he was a regular general, they say;
With a great regular army he went his way,        35
Against Louisburgh, to make it his prey,
But return’d—without seeing it,—for he did not feel bold that day.
                    O the old soldiers, &c.
Grown proud at reviews, great George had no rest;
Each grandsire, he had heard, a rebellion suppress’d:
He wish’d a rebellion, look’d round and saw none,        40
So resolved a rebellion to make—of his own.
                    O the old soldiers, &c.
The Yankees he bravely pitch’d on, because he thought they wouldn’t fight,
And so he sent us over to take away their right;
But lest they should spoil our review-clothes, he cried braver and louder;
For God’s sake, brother kings, don’t sell the cowards—any powder!
                    O the old soldiers, &c.
Our general with his council of war did advise
How at Lexington we might the Yankees surprise;
We march’d and remarch’d, all surprised at being beat;
And so our wise general’s plan of surprise was complete.
                    O the old soldiers, &c.
For fifteen miles they follow’d and pelted us: we scarce had time to pull a trigger;        50
But did you ever know a retreat perform’d with more vigour?
For we did it in two hours, which saved us from perdition;
’Twas not in going out, but in returning, consisted our expedition.
                    O the old soldiers, &c.
Says our general, “We were forced to take to our arms in our own defence:”
(For arms read legs, and it will be both truth and sense:)        55
“Lord Percy, (says he,) I must say something of him in civility,
And that is—I can never enough praise him for his great agility.”
                    O the old soldiers, &c.
Of their firing from behind fences he makes a great pother:
Every fence has two sides; they made use of one, and we only forgot to use the other.
That we turn’d our backs and ran away so fast, don’t let that disgrace us;        60
’Twas only to make good what Sandwich said, that the Yankees could not face us.
                    O the old soldiers, &c.
As they could not get before us, how could they look us in the face?
We took care they shouldn’t, by scampering away apace.
That they had not much to brag of, is a very plain case;
For if they beat us in the fight, we beat them in the race.
                    O the old soldiers, &c.

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