Verse > Anthologies > Hamilton Fish Armstrong, ed. > The Book of New York Verse
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Hamilton Fish Armstrong, ed.  The Book of New York Verse.  1917.
 
On the British Blockade, and Expected Attack on New York—1814 (abridged)
By Philip Freneau
 
OLD Neversink, with bonnet blue,
The present times may surely rue
When told what England means to do.
 
Where from the deep his head he rears
The din of war salutes his ears,        5
That teased him not for thirty years.
 
With tents I see his mountain spread,
The soldier to the summit led,
And cannon planted on his head:
 
From Shrewsbury beach to Sandy Hook        10
The country has a martial look,
And Quakers’ skulk in every nook.—
 
What shall be done in such a case?—
We ask again with woeful face,
To save the trade and guard the place?        15
 
Where mounted guns the porte secure,
The cannon at the embrasure,
Will British fleets attempt to moor?
 
Their feelings are alive and sore
For what they got at Baltimore,        20
When, with disgrace, they left the shore,
 
And will revenge it, if they can,
On town and country, maid and man—
And all they fear is Fulton’s plan;
 
Torpedoes planted in the deep,        25
Whose blast may put them all to sleep,
Or ghostify them at a sweep.
 
Another scheme, entirely new,
Is hammering on his anvil too,
That frightens Christian, Turk, and Jew.        30
 
A frigate meant to sail by steam!—
How can she else but torture them,
Be proof to all their fire and flame.
 
A feast she cooks for England’s sons
Of scalded heads and broken bones        35
Discharged from iron-hearted guns.
 
Black Sam himself, before he died,
Such suppers never did provide:—
Such dinners roasted, boil’d, and fry’d.
 
To make a brief of all I said—        40
If to attack they change blockade
Their godships will be well repaid
 
With water, scalding from the pot,
With melted lead and flaming shot,
With vollies of—I know not what,        45
 
The British lads will be so treated:
Their wooden walls will be so heated,
Their ruin will be soon completed.
 
Our citizens shall stare and wonder—
The Neversink repel their thunder        50
And Cockburn miss a handsome plunder.
 
 
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