1804 1

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On a Well-Known English Song

“A. B.”
The Morning Chronicle (January 11, 1804)

By the British Horace

Welcome, welcome, brother CROAKER![1]
    To this debt-demolished isle!
Where no scoffer, wag, or joker,
    Now, dares shew his sneering smile:
Where, 'twixt tax and muskets resting,
    Muzzled FEAR locks up her soul!
Much too ill at ease for jesting—
    Much too well dragoon'd to growl.

Sons of FREEDOM'S fond adoption,
    Britons, long so blest and brave!
All you've left, seems now the option,
    'Twixt a Bankrupt and a Slave!
HOPE, her choice of evils viewing,
    Doubts which first may stop her breath.
There the Foe lies, big with ruin—
    Here the Budget, big with death.

Bitter dose of BILLY'S brewing—
    BILLY!—bane of Britain's days!—
In a few sad years undoing
    All that ages toil'd to raise.
Like a wolf, let loose on plenty,
    He her vitals drain'd so fast,
Now, good folks, nineteen in twenty,
    Feel BRITANNIA heaves her last.

Rouse! oh, rouse then, brother CROAKER!
    To DESPAIR let's scorn to bend:
While we curse the hand that broke her,
    We'll BRITANNIA'S wreck defend!
Tho' she's shatter'd, crush'd, and sinking,
    Bravely yet she tops the tide;
And her bottom's, to my thinking,
    Fairly worth the world beside.

Now, an honest Pilot[2] steers her,
    Free from tyrant pride and hate;
Now, a nation's voice too cheers her,
    Through this struggling storm of FATE;
Then, tho' short our comfort's measure,
    Since we yet some crumbs may find,
Curs'd by P-TT'S wide waste of treasure,
    Well we'll guard what's left behind.

All that's dear's at stake to move us;
    All that charms and soothes our lives;
All we love, and all that love us—
    Children, Parents, Friends and Wives;
King and Country, Laws and Altars,
    Claim the pious hands of all;
And may SHAME brand him who faulters
    When the Gods of Battle call!

As we drink then, brother CROAKER,
    So we'll fight Old England's bout;
Hand to hand, tho' hell provoke her,
    Like our flask, we'll see it out.
At the field, as at the table,
    Jointly, bent to finish all;
We'll stand to't like men while able,
    Or, like men, together fall.

Fill! oh, fill then, brother CROAKER,
    In my toast all virtues live;
Call BRITANNIA! loud invoke her!
    While her own great sons I give:—
Here's our KING! the best in story—
    Here's the PRINCE! our country's pride—
Here's brave YORK! the soldier's glory—
    And all BRUNSWICK'S line beside.


1. The French are commonly referred to as "frogs" or "croakers" in the anti-invasion verse.

2. Henry Addington, viscount Sidmouth, headed the cabinet after Pitt resigned on February 3, 1804. Addington concluded the Treaty of Amiens on March 27, 1802.

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