Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
Major André
 
COME, all you brave Americans, and unto me give ear,
And I’ll sing you a ditty that will make your hearts cheer,
Concerning a young gentleman whose age was twenty-two;
He fought for North America; his heart was just and true.
 
They took him from his dwelling-place, and they did him confine,        5
They cast him into prison, and kept him for a time;
But he with resolution resolved not long to stay;
He set himself at liberty, and soon he ran away.
 
He with a scouting-party ran down to Tarrytown,
Where he met a British officer, a man of high renown;        10
He says to those young gentlemen, “You’re of the British cheer,
I trust that you can tell me now if there’s any danger here.”
 
Then up stepp’d this young gentleman, John Paulding was his name;
“Come, tell me where you’re going to, also from whence you came.”
“I bear the British flag, sir; I’ve a pass to go this way;        15
I’m on an expedition, and have no time to stay.”
 
Then up stepp’d those young gentlemen, and bid him to dismount;
“Come tell us where you’re going to, give us a strict account;
For we are now resolved that you shall ne’er pass by.”
On strict examination, they found out he was a spy.        20
 
He begged for his liberty, he plead for his discharge,
And oftentimes he told them, if they’d set him at large,
“Here’s all the gold and silver I have laid up in store,
But when I get down to New York I’ll give you ten times more.”
 
“I scorn your gold and silver, I’ve enough laid up in store,        25
And when that is all spent and gone, I’ll freely fight for more;
So you may take your sword in hand and gain your liberty,
And if that you do conquer me, O, then you shall go free.”
 
“The time it is improper our valour for to try,
For if we take our swords in hand, then one of us must die;        30
I am a man of honour, with courage brave and bold,
I fear not the face of clay, although it’s clothed in gold.”
 
He saw that his conspiracy would soon be brought to light;
He begg’d for pen and paper, and asked leave to write
A line to General Arnold, to let him know his fate,        35
And beg for his assistance; but alas, it was too late.
 
When the news it came to Arnold, it put him in a fret;
He walk’d the room in trouble, till tears his cheeks did wet;
The news it went throughout the camp, likewise throughout the fort;
He called for the Vulture, and sailed for New York.        40
 
Now Arnold to New York has gone, a fighting for his king,
And left poor Major André, on the gallows for to swing;
When he was executed, he look’d both meek and mild,
He look’d on his spectators, and pleasantly did smile.
 
It moved each eye with pity, caused every heart to bleed;        45
And every one wish’d him released, and had Arnold in his stead.
He was a man of honour, in Britain he was born;
To die upon the gallows most highly he did scorn.
 
Here’s a health unto John Paulding! so let your voices sound,
Fill up your flowing glasses, and drink his health around;        50
Also to those young gentlemen, who bore him company;
Success to North America, ye sons of liberty!
 
 
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