1811.1 - "Ships, Colonies, and Commerce"

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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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1811.1
Ships, Colonies, and Commerce[1]
“J. L.”
The European Magazine, LIX (March, 1811), pp. 215-216

Written, and sung, in Commemoration of the Opening of the East Country Dock, Rotherhithe, at a Dinner given on the Occasion by the Proprietors, at the City of London Tavern, on the 21st of March, 1811.

Now listen, my friends, to what I shall relate,
'Bout the noise we have made on the ocean of late;
Though Ships, Colonies, Commerce, the Frenchman did cry,
We've left him enough—just to put in his eye.
                              Derry down, &c. &c.

Then first for his Ships, why they're block'd up in port,
While our sailors wait outside in hopes of fine sport,
Our shipwrights complain that he's ruin'd their trade,
For he sends us his vessels the moment they're made.
                              Derry down, &c. &c.

Thus much for his first wish; and now for the next:
To find out his Colonies much I'm perplext:
Looking over the map, not one can I find,
For his troops have run home, and left them behind.
                              Derry down, &c. &c.

Not a Colony, then, has he got in the world,
While in every quarter our flag is unfurl'd:
Our ships vex the ocean, and buffet the seas.
While our merchants at home live in splendor and ease.
                              Derry down, &c.

His Commerce is gone, with a hop and three skips,
To look after his Colonies, Islands, and Ships:
And if e'er we allow him to get them again,
We must all be confoundedly crack'd in the brain.
                              Derry down, &c.

Then Boney may vapour, and brag as he can,
We are ready to meet all his troops man to man:
And teach them the same as our fathers of yore
Taught the French at Poictiers, and at fam'd Agincourt.
                              Derry down, &c.

Old England is just—and old England is brave;
Two virtues that always the nation will save;
Then while that our island such merit can boast,
Let our merchants and warriors be ever the toast.
                              Derry down, &c.

Then drink to our soldiers, and brave gallant tars,
Who fight like the devil, and glory in scars;
And should e'er they return either wounded or poor,
Relief they will find at each merchant's door.
                              Derry down, &c.

Those grand works, on which Buonaparte annually dwells,
Do not equal our Docks, and our Roads, and Canals:
'Tis our merchants alone, who with true British spirit,
Erect public works, and patronize merit.
                              Derry down, &c.

Thus on land, or at sea we defy Buonaparte,
And as no doubt our sailors will soon make him smart;
I wish that whenever his harbours unlock,
They may send his ships into—the East-country Dock.
                              Derry down, &c.

The greatest attention shall always be paid
If he'll favor our dock with his ships and his trade;
In return for his kindness we'll charge him no dues,
And that is an offer no man can refuse.
                              Derry down, &c.

And now to conclude do not let us forget,
The occasion on which we've thus happily met,
To drink in a glass of Champaign or old Hock,
Success to the trade of the East-Country Dock.
                               Derry-down, &c.


Notes

1. Since the Berlin Decree of November 21, 1806, Napoleon had been attempting to fix an economic blockade on English shipping. In retaliation to the Berlin Decree, the British Orders in Council of November 11, 18 and 25 and of December 18, 1807 attempted to restrict neutral shipping to France. Further retaliations came from the French. Ultimately, British commerce sought new markets and the effect of the economic sanction was to raise British exports and re-exports to unprecedented highs in 1810. By forcing neutral ships to put in at British ports and pay a 20%-30% duty on cargo, the British added considerably to their re-export values. On the other hand, Napoleon's sanctions only succeeded in hurting the French economy. Although this poem gloats over the success of British commerce, the year 1811 brought a serious financial crisis which was world-wide.

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Published @ RC

September 2004