ON THE CAPTURE OF THE GUERRIERE

 

 

†††††††††††† Long the Tyrant of our coast

†††††††††††††† Reign'd the famous Guerriere;

†††††††††††† Our little navy she defy'd.

†††††††††††††† Public ship and privateer:

†††††††††††† On her sails in letters red,

†††††††††††† To our captains were display'd

†††††††††††† Words of warning, words of dread,

†††††††††††††† All, who meet me, have a care!

†††††††††††††† I am England's Guerriere!

 

†††††††††††† On the wide, Atlantic deep

†††††††††††††† (Not her equal for the fight)

†††††††††††† The Constitution, on her way,

†††††††††††††† Chanced to meet these men of might:

†††††††††††† On her sails was nothing said,

†††††††††††† But her waist the teeth displayed

†††††††††††† That a deal of blood could shed,

†††††††††††††† Which, if she would venture near,

†††††††††††††† Would stain the decks of the Guerriere.

 

†††††††††††† Now our gallant ship they met ‑‑

†††††††††††††† And, to struggle with John Bull ‑‑

†††††††††††† Who had come, they little thought,

†††††††††††††† Strangers, yet, to Isaac Hull:

†††††††††††† Better, soon, to be acquainted:

†††††††††††† Isaac hail's the lord's anointed ‑‑

†††††††††††† While the crew the cannon pointed,

†††††††††††††† And the balls were so directed

†††††††††††††† With a blaze so unexpected;

 

†††††††††††† Isaac did so maul and rake her

†††††††††††† That the decks of Captain Dacres

†††††††††††† Were in such a woeful pickle

†††††††††††† As if death, with scythe and sickle,

†††††††††††††† With his sling, or with his shaft

†††††††††††††† Had cut his harvest fore and aft.

†††††††††††† Thus, in thirty minutes ended,

†††††††††††† Mischiefs that could not be mended:

†††††††††††† Masts, and yards, and ship descended,

†††††††††††††† All to Davy Jones' locker ‑‑

†††††††††††††† Such a ship in such a pucker!

 

†††††††††††† Drink about to the Constitution!

†††††††††††††† She perform'd some execution

†††††††††††† Did some share of retribution

†††††††††††††† For the insults of the year

†††††††††††† When she took the Guerriere.

†††††††††††††† May success again await her,

†††††††††††† Let who will again command her

†††††††††††††† Bainbridge, Rodgers, or Decatur ‑‑

†††††††††††† Nothing like her can withstand her,

††††††††††††††† With a crew, like that on board her

†††††††††††† And so boldly call'd "to order"

††††††† †††††††One bold crew of English sailors,

†††††††††††† Long, too long our seamen's jailers,

†††††††††††††† Dacres and the Guerriere!

 

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ‑‑ Philip Freneau

 

The Captainís Clerk
1989, TGM