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Cow Chase

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The Cow Chase

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The Cow Chase
(Major John Andre)

To drive the kine one summer's morn the tanner took his way.
The calf shall rue that is unborn the jumbling of that day,
And Wayne-descending steers shall know and tauntingly deride,
And call to mind in every low the tanning of his hide.

All wondrous proud in arms they came, what hero could refuse,
To tread the rugged path to fame-who had a pair of shoes.
At six, the host with sweating buff arrived  at Freedom's pole,
And Wayne, who thought he'd time enough, thus speechified the whole.

O ye, who glory doth unite who Freedom's cause espouse,
Whether the wing that's doomed to fight or that to drive the cows,
Their fort and blockhouse we will level and deal a horrid slaughter,
We'll drive the scoundrels to the devil and ravish wife and daughter

And I, under cover of attack, whilst you are all at blows,
From English neighborhood and Nyack will drive away the cows,
For well you know the latter is the serious operation,
And fighting with the refugees is only demonstration.

His daring words from all the crowd such great applause did gain
That every man declared aloud for serious work with Wayne,
And now the foe began to lead his forces to the attack,
Balls whistling unto balls succeed and make the blockhouse crack.

The firmer as the Rebels pressed, the loyal heroes stand,
Virtue had nerved each honest breast and industry each hand,
And as the fight was further fought and balls began to thicken,
The fray assumed, the generals thought, the color of a lickin'.

Yet undismayed the chiefs command, and to redeem the day,
Cry, "Soldiers, charge!" They hear, they stand, they turn and run away.
And now I've closed my epic strain, I tremble as I show it,
Lest this same warrior-drover, Wayne, should ever catch ---this poet.
From Songs of '76, Brand
Abridged from 61 verse original by Brand. This song, a parody of Chevy
Chase, was written by Major John Andre. Though on the British side, Andre
was dashing, handsome and young and was probably the most popular romantic
hero of the American Revolution. He organized espionage activities, most
notably the recruiting of Benedict Arnold to the British side. Andre was
captured and hanged; this verse was published after his death, with a
holographic footnote:
     When the epic strain was sung
     The poet by the neck was hung
     And to his cost he finds too late
     The dung-born tribe decides his fate.

The song commemorates a raid by Anthony Wayne, a tanner in civilian life,
on a British supply depot near Nyack. RG
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III