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British War Poetry in the Age of Romanticism 1793-1815, by Betty T. Bennet, Edited by Orianne Smith

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1798.6
Song
"H. D. B."
The Gentleman's Magazine, LXVIII (October 1798), p. 883
The Anti-Gallican (1804), pp. 66-67 [1]

Tune, "To Anacreon in Heav'n."

To learn Johnny Bull a la mode de Paris,
Some half-starv'd Republicans made declaration,
That they would instruct him like them to be free;
When this answer return'd from our loyal Old Nation;
    "Ye ragged banditti
    "Your freedom we pity,
"And mean to live happy, while frantic you sing
    "Your fav'rite Ca ira,
    "And hymn Marseillois,
"For the true Briton's song shall be "God save
                        the King."

Our forefathers bled on the scaffold and plain
T'establish a government, wise, just, and pure:
We'll defend it till death, and reject with disdain
One that scarce for a day or an hour can endure.
    Shall your fam'd Guillotine
    In Old England be seen?
No!—we mean to live happy, while frantic you sing
    Your fav'rite Ca ira,
    And hymn Marseillois,
For the true Briton's song shall be "God save
                        the King."

This answer of England to Gaul swiftly flew,
The Frenchmen pretended to give themselves airs;
"Soon, soon, they exclaim'd, shall that proud island rue,
"A New Carthage be humbled, defend it who dares:
    "They Freedom abuse,
    And our kindness refuse,
"We'll enlighten them quickly, with us shall they sing
    "Our fav'rite Ca ira,
    And the hymn Marseillois,
"Shall re-echo instead of their "God save the King."

But shall resolute Britons at threats be dismay'd?
No!—we're ready to meet them though twenty to one,
From our scabbards leap forth ev'ry sword, who's afraid?
Though they're joined by the cowardly, blust'ring Don.
    In battle we'll shew,
    To our sans-culotte foe,
That, in spite of their efforts, we never will sing
    Their fav'rite Ca ira,
    Or Hymn Marseillois,
For the true Briton's song shall be "God save the King."

If we fall in conflict, how noble the cause;
The stone will record it that stands on our grave;
"Here lies one who defended his country and laws;
And died, his religion and monarch to save."
    This and more shall be said;
    But, thank Heav'n, we're not dead,
We can all of us yet, with one heart and voice, sing
    Not the Frenchman's Ca ira,
    Or Hymn Marseillois,
But the true Briton's song, huzza, "God save the
                        King."


Notes

1. Also printed as The Briton's Song in The Spirit of the Public Journals, IV (1801), p. 235-236 and The Scots Magazine, LXIII (March 1801), p. 205.

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September 2004

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