The Dance | American Revolution War Song

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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 song, to the tune of Yankee Doodle, commemorating the campaign of Cornwallis in America, appeared soon after his surrender. The author is unknown.

The Dance*

CORNWALLIS led a country dance,
The like was never seen, sir,
Much retrograde and much advance,
And all with General Greene, Sir.

They rambled up and rambled down,
Join’d hands, then off they run, sir,
Our General Greene to Charlestown,
The earl to Wilmington, sir.

Greene, in the South, then danc’d a set,
And got a mighty name, air,
Cornwallis jigg’d with young Fayette,
But suffer’d in his fame, air.

Then down he figur’d to the shore,
Most like a lordly dancer,
And on his courtly honor swore,
He would no more advance, air.

Quoth he, my guards are weary grown
With footing country dances,
They never at St. James’s shone,
At capers, kicks or prances.

Though men so gallant ne’er were seen,
While sauntering on parade, air,
Or wriggling o’er the park’s smooth green,
Or at a masquerade, air.

Yet are red heels and long-lac’d skirts,
For stumps and briars meet, sir ?
Or stand they chance with hunting-shirts,
Or hardy veteran feet, sir?

Now hous’d in York he challeng’d all,
At minuet or all ‘amande,
And lessons for a courtly hall,
His guards by day and night conn’d.

This challenge known, full soon there came,
A set who had the bon ton,
De Grasse and Rochambeau, whose fame
Fut brillant pour un long tems.

And Washington, Columbia’s son,
Whom easy nature taught, sir,
That grace which can’t by pains be won,
Or Plutus’ gold be bought, sir.

Now hand in hand they circle round,
This ever-dancing peer, sir;
Their gentle movements, soon confound
The earl, as they draw near, sir.

His music soon forgets to play –
His feet can no more move, sir,
And all his bands now curse the day,
They jiggèd to our shore, sir.

Now Tories all, what can ye say?
Come – is not this a griper,
That while your hopes are danc’d away,
‘Tis you must pay the piper.

  • *The Dance. The troops under Cornwallis had spread desolation and ruin throughout the country over which they passed on their march from the South. Their numbers enabled them to go wherever they pleased, with comparatively little danger, and their great hatred to the Yankees, often led them far from the line of march, to the wanton destruction of property and life. The defeat and capture of such an army produced the strongest emotions in the breasts of the Colonists, and their villages, in their houses and their streets, resounded with the tokens of social triumph, exultation and joy.

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