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AMERICAN SEA SONGS. 17
The Englishmen gave three loud hurrahs from the deck of
their covered ark, And we answered back by a solid broadside from the decks
of our patriot bark.
" Out, booms ! Out, booms !" our skipper cried, " Out, booms, and give her sheet ! "
And the swiftest keel that ever was launched shot ahead of the British fleet.
And amidst a thundering shower of shot, with stunsails hoisting away,
Down the North Channel Paul Jones did steer, just at the break of day.
The naval war of 1812 was a glorious epoch in American history. The achievements of the troops were very far from creditable, with a few exceptions, including, of course, the great one of the repulse of British regulars at New Orleans; but on the ocean the American sailors proved themselves quite the equal, if not more, of the English seamen, who had learned to consider themselves invincible, and despised the petty fleet of half a dozen cruisers,
— not a single line-of-battle ship in the number,
— which they had force enough to sweep off the seas without a struggle, and which they finally did blockade into inaction. There was quite an outburst of surprise, incredulity, and indignation in England, when the news came in that British frigates, one after another, the Guerriere, the Java, and the Macedonian, had been captured in single-