14. Yankee Man O’War

Songs of the Revolution – 14. Yankee Man O’War


Tis of the gallant Yankee ship that flew the stripes and stars

and the whistling wind from the west no’ west blew through its pitch pine spars

with the starboard tacks aboard my boys she hung upon the gale

On an autumn night we raised the light on the head of old of King Sail

T’was a clear and cloudless night my boys and the wind grew steady and strong

As gaily over the sparkling deep our good ship bound along

With foaming seas beneath her bow the silvery waves she spread

And bending low her bosom of snow she buried her lee cap’s head

Now there was no talk of shortened sail by the man who walked the poop

And under the press of her ponderous jib the boom bent like a hoop

And the groaning waterways told the strain that held her stout main tack

But he only laughed as he glanced aback at a white and foamy track

Now the mid tide meets at the channel waves that flow from shore to shore

And the mist hung heavy upon the land from Featherstone to Dunmore                 

And the sterling light that Tuska Rock where the old bell holds a charm

And the beacon light that shined so bright was quenched at Waterford Tower.

What looms upon our starboard bow?  What hangs upon the breeze?

It is time our good ship hauled her wind abreast the old saltees

For by her ponderous press of sail and by her consorts four,

We saw our morning visitor was a British man o’ war

Up spoke our noble captain then as the shot before us passed

Out snuff your flowing courses, lads, lay your topsails to the mast

The Englishmen gave loud hurrahs from the deck of their covered ark

And we answered back with a solid round from the deck of our patriot bark

Out booms!  Out booms!  our skipper cried then out booms and give her sheet

and the swiftest keel that t’was ever launched shot ahead of the British fleet

And amidst a thundering shower of shot with the stun-sails hoisting away

Down the Channel North Paul Jones did steer it was at the break of day

Down the Channel North Paul Jones did steer it was at the break of day