|Share page||Visit Us On FB|
The Constitution and the Guerriere
This song was published in the Boston Gazette of September 7,1812, and the Columbian Centinel of September 9, with the title "Ode/' The capture of the Guerriere by the Constitution, under the command of Captain Isaac Hull, took place on August 19, 1812. There was a public dinner to Hull in Faneuil Hall on September 5, for which this poem was written by Lucius Manlius Sargent (1786-1867), later celebrated for his Temperance Tales. The Boston Gazette reports that "after the 5th Toast, the following original Ode was sung by Mr. Stebbins, with his usual taste and elegance, and was received with great applause/' The Ode may be found also in other newspapers of the time — for example, in The Weekly Messenger (Boston), September 11, 1812; in the Salem Gazette, September 11; and in the Franklin Herald (Greenfield, Massachusetts), September 22. In 1814 it was included in The Columbian Harmonist (New York), pp. 134-136, and in 1815 in The Songster s Companion (Brattleborough, Vermont), pp. 297-299.
The text given below follows the Gazette in every particular, except that the stanzas have been numbered, the lines indented, and two misprints corrected in stanza 3: bell'wring (line 8) and thunder s (line 10). The Ode is less accurately reprinted by Mc-Carty, Songs, Odes, and Other Poems on National Subjects (Philadelphia, 1842), II, 216-218; by G. C. Eggleston, American War Ballads and Lyrics, I, 128-130; by Admiral Luce, Naval Songs, 2d ed., 1902, pp. 28-29; and by B. E. Stevenson, Poems of American History, p. 296.
A copy sent to the editor by a retired seaman in Searsport, Maine, in 1916, shows no variant readings of importance, except volleys instead of volumes in stanza 3. Luce reads vollies.