The Recess

This satire first appeared at London, where it was written by "a true friend of the King and the Colonies." It was reproduced in America, in 1779, on a music sheet, adapted to the tune "Yankee Doodle."


AND now our Senators are gone
To take their leave of London,
To mourn how little they have done,
How much they have left undone !

Heaven bless 'em in their summer seats,
And grant their neighbors stare at
The long recounting of their feats,
Though wond'ring much what they're at !

Bless'd be the times when men may do,
What no one comprehendeth
May boast of deeds that all must rue,
Nor judge where nonsense endeth!

One year, with half ten thousand men,
We swallow all our foes up;
The next, the times are turn'd, and then
Old England's scale light goes up.

But still with courage and with glee,
New laws we must be framing;
With paper and with parchment, we
The savages art taming.

We swear the transatlantic folks
Shall all obey our orders;
While they turn all we do to jokes,
And cry out, "guard your borders."

Well, then, we'll go to war with France
Yes - no - we must - we mustn't;
John Bull shall teach Monsieur to dance

But can't - and there's the curse on't.
What's to be done ? - we'll end the jar -
But how ? - Ah ! there's the devil -
'Tis easier to provoke a war
By far, than cure the evil.

We trust you'll nearer hit the point
When you shall meet next winter;
And if you cannot set the joint,
Be sure reduce the splinter.

* The Recess. The editor of the Pennsylvania Ledger, a loyal newspaper, printed at Philadelphia, had a great antipathy to "all such faint praise." "These scurrilous verses," says he, "are calculated to do more harm to our king and country, than would the defeat of one half of our army. It is only another instance of the base, perfidious means made use of by the quiet leaders in the present rebellion, to subvert law and the rights of the ministry. Such moderate writers ought to have a cord for their moderation. God. save the King! "