Banks of the Dee 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 excellent parody is attributed to Oliver Arnold,1 a native of Norwich, Connecticut, and a kinsman of the traitor. He wrote much doggerel during his time, some of which is quite good, and was, at the time, very popular.

Banks of the Dee

TWAS winter, and blue tory noses were freezing,
As they march’d o’er the land where they ought not to be;
The valiants complain’d at the fifers’ curs’d wheezing, And wish’d they’d remain’d on the banks of the Dee. Lead on thou paid captain! tramp on thou proud minions ! Thy ranks, basest men, shall be strung like ripe onions, For here thou hast found heads with warlike opinions, On the shoulders of nobles who ne’er saw the Dee.

Prepare for war’s conflict; or make preparation
For peace with the rebels, for they’re brave and glee; Keep mindful of dying, and leave the foul nation
That sends out its armies to brag and to flee.
Make haste, now, and leave us thou miscreant tories! To Scotland repair! there court the sad houris,
And listen once more to their plaints and their stories Concerning the “glory and pride of the Dee.”

Be quiet and sober, secure and contented:
Upon your own land, be valiant and free;
Bless God, that the war is so nicely prevented,
And till the green fields on the banks of the Dee.
The Dee then will flow, all its beauty displaying,
The lads on its banks will again be seen playing,
And England thus honestly taxes defraying,
With natural drafts from the banks of the Dee.

  1. Oliver Arnold, was celebrated for his ready wit at repartee. At the time Joel Barlow, (who was on terms of intimacy with him,) was enjoying much notoriety, for his revised and altered edition of Watts’s Psalms and Hymns, Arnold presented him with the following stanzas:”You’ve proved yourself a sinful cre’tur;
    You’ve murder’d Watts and spoil’d the metre;
    You’ve tried the word of God to alter,
    And for your pains deserve a halter.”

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