Volunteer Boys | 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 is one of the best convivial songs produced during the war. Its authorship has been attributed to Henry Archer,* a native of England, who emigrated to America in 1778, and embraced the cause of the Colonists.

Volunteer Boys

HENCE with the lover who sighs o’er his wine,
Cloes and Phillises toasting,
Hence with the slave who will whimper and whine,
Of ardor and constancy boasting.
Hence with love’s joys,
Follies and noise,
The toast that I give is the Volunteer Boys.

Nobles and beauties and such common toasts,
Those who admire may drink, sir;
Fill up the glass to the volunteer hosts,
Who never from danger will shrink, sir.
Let mirth appear,
Every heart cheer,
The toast that I give is the brave volunteer.

Here’s to the squire who goes to parade
Here’s to the citizen soldier;
Here’s to the merchant who fights for his trade,
Whom danger increasing makes bolder.
Let mirth appear,
Union is here,
The toast that I give is the brave volunteer.

Here’s to the lawyer, who, leaving the bar,
Hastens where honor doth lead, sir,
Changing the gown for the ensigns of war,
The cause of his country to plead, sir.
Freedom appears,
Every heart cheers,
And calls for the health of the law volunteers.

Here’s to the soldier, though batter’d in wars,
And safe to his farm-house retir’d;
When called by his country, ne’er thinks of his scars,
With ardor to join us inspir’d.
Bright fame appears,
Trophies uprear,
To veteran chiefs who became volunteers.

Here’s to the farmer who dares to advance
To harvests of honor with pleasure;
Who with a slave the most skilful in France,
A sword for his country would measure.
Hence with cold fear,
Heroes rise here;
The ploughman is chang’d to the stout volunteer.

Here’s to the peer, first in senate and field,
Whose actions to titles add grace, sir;
Whose spirit undaunted would never yet yield
To a foe, to a pension or place, sir.
Gratitude here,
Toasts to the peer,
Who adds to his titles, “the brave volunteer.”

Thus the bold bands for old Jersey’s defence,
The muse hath with rapture review’d, sir;
With our volunteer boys, as our verses commence,
With our volunteer boys they conclude, sir.
Discord or noise,
Ne’er damp our joys,
But health and success to the volunteer boys.

  • *Henry Archer. “Dr. French,” a nephew of the celebrated Jonathan French (minister at Andover, Mass.), now living in the town of Rockingham, Vermont, says he often heard his father say that “Henry Archer, a gentleman from England,” was the author of the “Volunteer Boys.” By referring to the Pennsylvania Packet, October, 1778, the reader will find the following. “Philadelphia – Friday last, arrived in this city, Henry Archer, Esq. This young gentleman has been educated at a military school, in England, where he owned a handsome fortune, which he has lately sold, in order to embark as a volunteer in the American army.”

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