Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
On the British Invasion—1814
By Philip Freneau (1752–1832)
FROM France, desponding and betray’d,
From liberty in ruins laid,
Exulting Britain has display’d
          Her flag, again to invade us.
Her myrmidons, with murdering eye,        5
Across the broad Atlantic fly,
Prepared again their strength to try,
          And strike our country’s standard.
Lord Wellington’s ten thousand slaves, 1
And thrice ten thousand, on the waves,        10
And thousands more of brags and braves
          Are under sail, and coming,
To burn our towns, to seize our soil,
To change our laws, our country spoil,
And Madison to Elba’s isle        15
          To send without redemption.
In Boston state they hope to find
A Yankee host of kindred mind
To aid their arms, to rise and bind
          Their countrymen in shackles.        20
But no such thing—it will not do—
At least, not while a Jersey Blue
Is to the cause of freedom true,
          Or the bold Pennsylvanian.
A curse on England’s frantic schemes!        25
Both mad and blind, her monarch dreams
Of crowns and kingdoms in these climes,
          Where kings have had their sentence.
Though Washington has left our coast,
Yet other Washingtons we boast,        30
Who rise, instructed by his ghost,
          To punish all invaders.
Go where they will, where’er they land,
This pilfering, plundering, pirate band,
They liberty will find at hand        35
          To hurl them to perdition:
If in Virginia they appear,
Their fate is fix’d, their doom is near,
Death in their front and hell their rear;
          So says the gallant buckskin.        40
All Carolina is prepared,
And Charleston doubly on her guard;
Where, once, Sir Peter badly fared,
          So blasted by Fort Moultrie.
If farther south they turn their views,        45
With veteran troops, or veteran crews,
The curse of Heaven their march pursues,
          To send them all a-packing.
The tallest mast that sails the wave,
The longest keel its waters lave,        50
Will bring them to an early grave
          On the shores of Pensacola.
Note 1. Lord Wellington’s army embarked on the river Garonne, in France, in several divisions, for the invasion of the United States, amounting, it was said, to sixty or seventy thousand men. [back]

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