Anon. The Yankie Doodles Intrenchments near Boston 1776, published in London c.1776.
A Loyal Song
(Tune, Vain Britons Boast No Longer)
Vain boasters cease, shall the Yankies the British flag defy?
Shall Britons bear the insult, and not to vengeance fly?
Tho’ wide the deep that parts you from Old England’s warlike shore
Yet still, amid your coward ranks, her cannon loud shall roar,
Yet still, & c.
Tho’ hoary headed Putnam, should bring your legions on,
With Arnold, Sinclair, in his train and godlike Washington;
Their rebel pride shall soon be tam’d, by Britons great and brave,
While Albion’s banner high in air, triumphantly shall wave.
While Albion’s & c.
Tho’ benediction’d navies should sail to lend you aid,
By bigots bles’d, with bigots mann’d, impenetrable made;
Sunk in the deep by Hearts of Oak, ne’er shall they rise again,
While absolution, bulls and bead, lie floating in the main.
While absolutions, & c.
From post to post, from town to town, your trembling legions cry,
Pale discord reigns, and horror broods, where’er the traitors fly;
Destruction stares them in the face, and hope for ever gone
A shadow independency – A shade great Washington.
A shadow & c.
For you what British worthies have bravely fought and bled,
What noble heroes dying smited on honours painful bed;
But know correction waits you all, ingrates, wherev’er you are,
For Britain is and ever was, high heav’n’s peculiar care.
For Britain &c.
Still Britain’s matchless navies shall awe the trembling world,
Thro’ Asia, Africa, India, her thunders shall be hurl’d;
The vaunting boasts shall vanish then, of each rebellious son,
Nor Britain’s glory be transferr’d to them or Washington.
Nor Britain’s &c.
Then from fell sons of discord, your rebel arms throw down,
With tears repentant sue for grace, at injur’d Britain’s crown:
Fair peace shall quietly then return, with plenty in her train,
And commerce raise her drooping head, beyond the Atlantic main
And commerce &c.
This song, which was intended as a satirical retort to a popular rebel marching tune, was published in the Newcastle Courant of 15th November 1777. At that time, the British press was awash with jubilant accounts of Howe’s victories in Pennsylvania, and consequently The Morning Chronicle counselled its readers to ignore the “mischievous impressions” which were already beginning to filter across the Atlantic, via “channels of infamy and falsehood”, of the disaster which was said to be engulfing General John Burgoyne’s army in the Hudson Valley. When the first definitive confirmation of the defeat at Saratoga finally reached Britain in early December, the news exploded like a thunderclap; sending the King into “agonies”, stunning the House of Commons into silence and transforming every coffeehouse in the land into barrack-room of armchair generals, determined to thrash out a plan to defeat the Yankee armies from the safety of their firesides.