Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VIII. National Spirit
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VIII. National Spirit.  1904.
 
III. War
The Dance
Anonymous
 
[Published soon after the surrender of Cornwallis]

CORNWALLIS led a country dance,
  The like was never seen, sir,
Much retrograde and much advance,
  And all with General Greene, sir.
 
They rambled up and rambled down,        5
  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,        10
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        15
  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.        20
 
Though men so gallant ne’er were seen,
  While sauntering on parade, sir,
Or wiggling o’er the park’s smooth green,
  Or at a masquerade, sir.
 
Yet are red heels and long-laced skirts,        25
  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,        30
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        35
  Fut brillant pour un long tems.
 
And Washington, Columbia’s son,
  Whom every nature taught, sir,
That grace which can’t by pains be won,
  Or Plutus’s gold be bought, sir.        40
 
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—        45
  His feet can move no more, 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,        50
That while your hopes are danced away,
  ’T is you must pay the piper?
 
 
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