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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

The Dance

By Revolutionary Songs and Ballads

[Published in 1781, after the Surrender of Cornwallis.]

CORNWALLIS led a country dance,

The like was never seen, sir,

Much retrogade and much advance,

And all with General Greene, sir.

They rambled up and rambled down,

Joined hands, then off they run, sir,

Our General Greene to Charlestown,

The earl to Wilmington, sir.

Greene in the South then danced a set,

And got a mighty name, sir,

Cornwallis jigged with young Fayette,

But suffered in his fame, sir.

Then down he figured to the shore,

Most like a lordly dancer,

And on his courtly honor swore

He would no more advance, sir.

Quoth he, my guards are weary grown

With footing country dances,

They never at St. James’s shone,

At capers, kicks or prances.

Though men so gallant ne’er were seen,

While sauntering on parade, sir,

Or wriggling o’er the park’s smooth green,

Or at a masquerade, sir,

Yet are red heels and long-laced skirts,

For stumps and briars meet, sir?

Or stand they chance with hunting-shirts,

Or hardy veteran feet, sir?

Now housed in York he challenged all,

At minuet or all ’amande,

And lessons for a courtly ball

His guards by day and night conned.

This challenge known, full soon there came,

A set who had the bon ton,

De Grasse and Rochambeau, whose fame

Fut brillant pour un long tems.

And Washington, Columbia’s son,

Whom easy nature taught, sir,

That grace which can’t by pains be won,

Or Plutus’ gold be bought, sir.

Now hand in hand they circle round

This ever-dancing peer, sir;

Their gentle movements soon confound

The earl as they draw near, sir.

His music soon forgets to play—

His feet can no more move, sir,

And all his bands now curse the day

They jiggèd to our shore, sir.

Now Tories all, what can ye say?

Come—is not this a griper,

That while your hopes are danced away,

’Tis you must pay the piper?