The Battle of the Kegs

Gallants attend, and hear a friend
Trill forth harmonious ditty;
Strange things I'll tell, which late befel
In Philadelphia city.

'Twas early day, as Poets say,
Just when the sun was rising;
A soldier stood on a log of wood
And saw a sight surprising.

As in a maze he stood to gaze,
The truth can't be deny'd, Sir;
He spy'd a score of kegs, or more,
Come floating down the tide, Sir.

A sailor too, in jerkin blue,
This strange appearance viewing,
First damn'd his eyes in great surprize,
Then said — " Some mischief's brewing:

" These kegs now hold the rebels bold
Pack'd up like pickl'd herring,
And they're come down t'attack the town
In this new way of ferrying. "

The soldier flew, the sailor too,
And scar'd almost to death, Sir,
Wore out their shoes to spread the news,
And ran 'til out of breath, Sir.

Now up and down throughout the town
Most frantic scenes were acted;
And some ran here and others there,
Like men almost distracted.

Some fire cry'd, which some deny'd,
But said the earth had quaked;
And girls and boys, with hideous noise,
Ran thro' the streets half naked.

Sir William he, snug as a flea,
Lay all this time a snoring;
Nor dreamt of harm, as he lay warm
In bed with Mrs. Loring .

Now in a fright he starts upright,
Awak'd by such a clatter;
First rubs his eyes, then boldly cries,
" For God's sake, what's the matter? "

At his bed side he then espy'd
Sir Erskine at command, Sir;
Upon one foot he had one boot
And t'other in his hand, Sir.

" Arise, arise, " Sir Erskine cries,
" The rebels — more's the pity!
Without a boat, are all afloat
And rang'd before the city.

" The motley crew, in vessels new,
With Satan for their guide, Sir,
Pack'd up in bags, and wooden kegs,
Come driving down the tide, Sir.

" Therefore prepare for bloody war,
These kegs must all be routed,
Or surely we despis'd shall be,
And British valour doubted. "

The royal band now ready stand,
All rang'd in dread array, Sir,
On every slip, in every ship,
For to begin the fray, Sir.

The cannons roar from shore to shore,
The small arms make a rattle;
Since wars began I'm sure no man
E'er saw so strange a battle.

The rebel dales — the rebel vales,
With rebel trees surrounded;
The distant woods, the hills and floods,
With rebel echoes sounded.

The fish below swam to and fro,
Attack'd from ev'ry quarter;
Why sure, thought they, the De'il's to pay
'Mong folks above the water.

The kegs, 'tis said, tho' strongly made
Of rebel staves and hoops, Sir,
Could not oppose their pow'rful foes,
The conqu'ring British troops, Sir.

From morn to night these men of might
Display'd amazing courage;
And when the sun was fairly down,
Retir'd to sup their porridge.

One hundred men, with each a pen
Or more, upon my word, Sir,
It is most true, would be too few
Their valour to record, Sir.

Such feats did they perform that day
Against these wicked kegs, Sir,
That years to come, if they get home ,
They'll make their boasts and brag, Sir.
Rate this poem: 


No reviews yet.