THE FRIGATE CONSTITUTION

 

(Sung before the corporation of the City of New York, the Fourth of July, 1815.)

 

Argo of Greece, that brought the fleece to the Thessalian city,

As we are told by bards of old, was sung in many a ditty;

But Yankees claim a prouder name to spur their resolution,

Then Greece could coast and do her most ‑‑ the frigate Constitution.

 

When first she press'd the stream's cool breast, hope hail'd her pride of story;

Now she o'erpays hope's flatt'ring praise, by matchless deeds of glory;

Of all that roam the salt sea's foam, none floats to Neptune dearer,

Or fairer shines in fame's bright lines, or more makes Britain fear her.

 

'Neath Hull's command, with a tough band and nought beside to back her,

Upon a day, as log‑books say, a fleet bore down to thwack her;

A fleet, you know, is odds or so, against a single ship, sirs;

So cross the tide, her legs she tried, and gave the rogues the slip, sirs.

 

But time flies round, and soon she found, while ploughing ocean's acres,

And even chance to join the dance, and turn keel up, poor Dacres;

Dacres, 'tis clear, despises fear, quite full of fun and prank is.

Hoists his ship's name, in playful game, aloft to scare the Yankees.

 

On Brazil's coast, she rul'd the roast, when Bainbridge was her captain;

Neat hammocks gave, made of the wave, dear Britons to be wrapp'd in;

For there, in ire, 'midst smoke and fire, her boys the Java met, sirs,

And in the fray, her Yankee play, tipp'd Bull a somerset, sirs.

 

Next on her deck, at Fortune's beck, the dauntless Stewart landed;

A better tar ne'er shone in war, or daring souls commanded;

Old Ironsides, now once more rides, in search of English cruisers;

And Neptune grins, to see her twins got in an hour or two, sirs.

 

Then raise amain, the joyful strain, for well she has deserv'd it,

Who brought the foe so often low, cheer'd freedom's heart and nerv'd it;

Long may she ride, our navy's pride, and spur to resolution;

And seamen boast, and landsmen toast the Frigate Constitution.

 

†††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††‑‑ Francis Arden, Esq.

 

The Captainís Clerk
1989, TGM