2. The Whites of Their Eyes

Songs of the Revolution – 2. Whites of Their Eyes


Let your foe draw nigh ‘til the white of his eye

Comes in close range with your piece

But hold fire still ‘til the red veins there

Are as clear as the white, then release

Flint gives spark, powder gives bark

And your ball flies through to its mark

Your foe goes down one eye less, to the ground

And one grenadier deceased

So show to the Empire, to London and Fame

How justice smiles awful when free men take aim

 It’s been just over seven weeks

               since cannonballs were hurled

At Lexington and Concord

               shots heard round the world

Since that time old Boston town

               has been a garrison

for British troops and Tory groups

               Some say a war’s begun

The port is closed, King George opposed

               They say a war’s begun

Now word has reached the Yankees that

               the British plan to move

To occupy old Bunker Hill

               their defenses to improve

The Yankees have made up their minds

               to best them at their game

To beat the Redcoats up the hill

               and put the Crown to shame

To fortify old Bunker Hill

               from there to take their aim

General Howe will live to rue

               the vow that he has made

to take the hill by front assault

               and what a price he’s paid

It’s twice he’s tried to storm the hill

               with all his infantry

And twice he’s met the rebel fire

that drives his troops to flee

Reeling down the hill dispatched

               with heavy casualty

Colonel Prescott stands before his

               his men to urge them on

Two hours they’ve been fighting now

               their powder nearly gone

With only stones and rusty nails

               to load their rifles round

They face once more the grenadiers

               in service to the crown

This time with bayonets they come

               to cut the rebels down

T’was the afternoon the seventeenth

               the Yankees did surprise

the British troops at Bunker Hill

               an army twice their size

Withholding fire till they could see

               the whiteness of their eyes

The Yankees made the Redcoats pay

               so dearly for their prize

And left the British generals fearful

               and demoralized

And when t’was said and done my friends

               what good did it provide?

The hill ran red and men were dead

            on each and every side

Was battle raged on Bunker Hill

               that nothing did decide

For the Crown was still in Boston and

               the Rebels still outside

The Redcoats still in Boston and               

The Yankees still outside