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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

On the Capture of the “Guerriere”

By Anonymous

[Naval Ballad of 1812.—Preserved in McCarty’s National Song Book. 1842.]

LONG, the tyrant of our coast,

Reigned the famous Guerriere:

Our little navy she defied,

Public ship and privateer;

On her sails, in letters red,

To our captains were displayed

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 hailed 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 woful 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 David Jones’s locker—

Such a ship in such a pucker!

Drink about to the Constitution!

She performed 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

Who so boldly called “to order”

One bold crew of English sailors,

Long, too long, our seamen’s jailers—

Dacres and the Guerriere!