'Tis of a stately Southerner
Who flew the Stripes and Stars
The whistling wind from west nor'west
Blew through our pitch-pine spars
We had our larboard tacks on board
As we hung upon a gale,
Geble Island light shone bright
From the Old Head of Kinsale.
2. No thought was there of shortening sail
By him who trod our poop,
Although the press of our pondering jibs,
The boom bends like a hoop;
Our groaning chess-trees told the strain
That stood on our stout main tack
But he only laughed as he glanced abaft
At the white and glistening track.
3. It was a bright and a cloudless night,
The wind blew fresh and strong
As gaily o'er the Channel wave
Our good ship swept along.
With the foaming sea before her bow
The briny wave she spread
Till bending low in a foam like snow
She buries her lee cathead.
4. "What's this upon our weather bow
What ship is this I see?
It's time our good ship hauled her wind,
We're abreast the old Saltee"
'Twas by the nightly robe she wore
And her tap'ring length of spar
We knew our morning visitor
Was a British man-o'-war.
5. What did our daring foeman do?
A shot ahead he passed,
Clewed up his flowing courses,
Laid his topsails to the mast.
Those British tars gave three huzzas
From the deck of their black corvette
But we answered back with a scornful laugh
As our starry flag we set.
6. "Out booms, out booms!" cried the Southerner.
"Out booms, and give her sheet.
Here comes the fastest man-o'-war
Of all the Channel fieet.
She's bearing down upon us, boys,
With the white foam at her bow
Out booms, out booms!" cried the Southerner.
"Don't spare your canvas now!"
7. The midtide meets the Channel wave
That flows from shore to shore
The mist hung heavy o'er the land
From Featherstone to Dunmore;
The day star glinted in the east,
Four bells had rolled the hour,
And the sterling light on Tuskar Rock
Was quenched in the Waterford Tower.
8. Out spake our noble captain then,
Not a cloud was on his brow:
"Stand by, my gallant heroes all,
The enemy's on us now.
We carry aloft the Stars and Stripes
Against old England's boast.
Paul Jones, the terror of the sea,
Will fly them on her coast!"
9. The fog was rising o'er the land,
The wind was from the shore,
And the poor Dungarven fishernen
Sought shelter in Kinsore.
With light sails set and booms rigged out
And stun's'ls hoisted away
Paul Jones did clear the Channel mouth
Before the dawn of day.
This commemorates a non-battle. Privateer John Paul Jones sailed into the Irish Sea in 1778 to attack British shipping and raid the coast of Cumberland. He encountered a larger and more powerful British man-o-war, but his lighter vessel, the Ranger, was
able to outrun and outmaneuver the British ship, and escaped.