Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
Sir Guy Carleton’s Address to the Americans—1782
By Philip Freneau (1752–1832)
 
FROM Britain’s famed island once more I come over,
(No island on earth is in prowess above her,)
With powers and commissions your hearts to recover.
 
Our king, I must tell you, is plagued with a phantom,
(Independence they call it,) that hourly doth haunt him,        5
And relief, my dear rebels, you only can grant him.
 
Tom Gage and Sir Harry, Sir William, (our boast,)
Lord Howe, and the rest that have travell’d the coast,
All failed in their projects of laying this ghost:
 
So unless the damned spectre myself can expel,        10
It will yet kill our monarch, I know very well,
And gallop him off on his lion to hell.
 
But I heartily wish, that instead of Sir Guy,
They had sent out a seer from the island of Skie,
Who rebels, and devils, and ghosts could defy:        15
 
So great is our prospect of failing at last,
When I look at the present, and think of the past,
I wish with our heroes I had not been class’d.
 
For though, to a man, we are bullies and bruisers,
And cover’d with laurels, we still are the losers,        20
Till each is recall’d with his tory accusers:
 
But the war now is altered, and on a new plan;
By negotiation we’ll do what we can;
And I am an honest, well-meaning old man;
 
Too proud to retreat, and too weak to advance,        25
We must stay where we are, at the mercy of chance,
Till Fortune shall help us to lead you a dance.
 
Then lay down your arms, dear rebels; O hone!
Our king is the best man that ever was known,
And the greatest that ever was stuck on a throne.        30
 
His love and affection by all ranks are sought;
Here take him, my honeys, and each pay a groat;
Was ever a monarch more easily bought?
 
In pretty good case, and very well found,
By night and by day we carry him round;        35
He must go for a groat, if we can’t get a pound.
 
Break the treaties you made with Louis Bourbon;
Abandon the Congress, no matter how soon,
And then, altogether, we’ll play a new tune.
 
’Tis strange that they always would manage the roast,        40
And force you their healths and the dauphin’s to toast;
Repent, my dear fellows, and each get a post:
 
Or, if you object that one post is too few,
We generous Britons will help you to two
With a beam laid across; that will certainly do.        45
 
The folks that rebell’d in the year forty-five,
We used them so well, that we left few alive,
But sent them to heaven in swarms from their hive.
 
Your noble resistance we cannot forget,
’Tis nothing but right we should honour you yet;        50
If you are not rewarded, we die in your debt.
 
So, quickly submit, and our mercy implore,
Be as loyal to George as you once were before,
Or I’ll slaughter you all, and probably more.
 
What puzzled Sir Harry, Sir Will, and his brother,        55
Perhaps may be done by the son of my mother,
With the sword in one hand and a branch in the other.
 
My bold predecessors, (as fitting their station,)
At their first coming out, all spoke proclamation;
’Tis the custom with us, and the way of our nation.        60
 
Then Kil-al-la-loo! Shelaly I say;
If we cannot all fight, we can all run away;
And further at present I choose not to say.
 
 
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