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3 Centuries Of Naval History In Shanties & Sea Songs With Lyrics & Notes

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On January fifteen, just by the dawn of day,
We 'spied a Yankee frigate that just had put to sea.
To her our squadron soon gave chace, but all soon dropt behind,
Except the bold Endymion, who flew before the wind.
It was a handsome chace, my boys, as ever yet was seen, Each man stood to his quarters, for victory was keen ; When, about the hour of four o'clock, long torn began to tell, With her we soon came up, brave boys, our ship could sail so well.
Their Commodore Decatur all hands on deck did call, Saying, ' Be of good courage, their vessel's very small; Besides, we have two men to one—so, boys, be not asleep, For in less than ten minutes we'll sink her in the deep.'
But soon he found his great mistake—at five o'clock at night We gave to them three daring cheers, and began the bloody fight. This was their boasted frigate, in her they did confide, But soon the bold Endymion pull'd down their Yankee pride.
Two hours and forty minutes, with courage void of fear,
This bloody fight we did maintain and swept her decks so clear.
When she haul'd down her colours our valiant captain cries,
' Well done, well done, my brave boys, the Presidents our prize !'
We had twenty kill'd and wounded—thank God we had no more— Whilst one hundred of those Yankees lay weltering in their gore, And more than twenty wounded, most grevious was their cries, Their bitter moans and dying groans did rend the very skies.
The President she was well manned, five hundred was her crew; Three hundred and forty the Endymion were, 'tis true; Yet, nurs'd in the lap of victory, those Yankees did despise, For we were all bold British tars and stout courageous boys.
A curious observation, twelve months that day were spent Since this proud Yankee commodore a challenge to us sent. We joyfully accepted it, British honour to [_de]fend, But our commodore would not permit, nor yet the same commend.
Full sore it grieved bold Captain Hope that contest to decline, But now he may exult and say, ' Decatur, you are mine; I long'd to meet you on this coast and sought you with much toil, And since I have you snug on board, I'll shew you British soil.'