A Parody | American Revolution War Song

About the author

Frank Moore
Frank Moore

Frank Moore was a journalist and Revolutionary historian. He published a number of books on the American Revolution during his career in the mid-19th century, including Songs and Ballads of the American Revolution, Diary of the American Revolution and The Patriot Preachers of the American Revolution.

This parody on the “Watery God” was occasioned by the success of the Americans at Trenton and Princeton. It was published a short time after those victories, and soon became a favorite.

A Parody

As Mars, great god of battles ! lay,
In dalliance soft and amorous play,
On fair Bellona’s breast;
Surpris’d he rear’d his hoary head,
The conscious goddess shook with dread,
And all her fears confess’d.

Loud thunder roll’d through Heaven’s domain,
The ethereal world was wrapt in flame,
The god amazèd spoke:
Go forth, ye powers, and make it known,
Who dares thus boldly shake my throne,
And fill my realms with smoke.

The gods, obsequious to his word,
Sprang swiftly forth t’ obey their lord,.
And saw two hosts away;
The one, great Washington, was thine;
The other, Howe’s disordered line,
In sorrow and dismay.

Appall’d they view’d Columbia’s sons,
Deal death and slaughter from their guns,
And strike a dreadful blow,
Which made ill-fated British slaves,
On distant shores to find their graves,
And sink to shades below.

Amaz’d they tell of battles won,
That Britain’s ruin’d; Washington
Alone triumphant rode;
Ha ! cries the fair, pray who is he
That dare’s reverse e’en Jove’s decree,
And thus insult a god ?

The gods reply, in yonder lands,
Great Liberty alone commands,
And gives the hero force;
And when his thundering cannon roar,
And strike with dread earth’s distant shore,
‘Tis she directs their course.

And when her wingèd bullets fly,
To check a tyrant’s treachery,
And lay his glories low;
Then Washington serenely great,
Tho’ death and carnage round him wait,
Performs the dreadful blow.

The god with wonder heard the story,
Astonish’d view’d Columbia’s glory,
Which time can ne’er subdue,
Great Warren’s deeds, and Gates’s fame,
Join’d to great Lee’s immortal name;1
And cried, Can this be true ?

Britain shall cease to plague mankind,
With sister tyrants strive to bind,
And check the free-born soul;
To Washington her trophies yield,
Freedom shall triumph in the field,
And rule from pole to pole.

  1. Lee’s immortal name. General Charles Lee was taken prisoner in 1776 while marching through New Jersey to join General Washington, and was not exchanged until 1778. This song was written while he remained with the British.

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