The Stately Southerner

(The Yankee Man-of-War; The Ranger)

It was the Stately Southerner, that carried the Stripes and Stars,
The whitling wind from west-nor'-west blew through her pitch-pine spars.
With her starboard tacks aboard, my boys, she hung up to the gale,
'Twas an autumn night, we raised the light on the Old Head of Kinsale.

It was a clear and cloudless night; the wind blew steady and strong,
As gaily over the sparkling deep our good ship bowled along.
With the fiery foam beneath her bows the white wave she did spread,
And bending alow her bosom in mow she buried her lee cathead.

There was no talk of short'ning sail by him who walked the poop,
And 'neath the press of her ponderous jib the boom bent like a hoop;
And the groaning waterways told the strain that held her stout main-tack,
But he only laughed as he gazed abaft at the white and glist'ning track.

The mid-tide meets in the channel waves that flow from shore to shore,
And the mist hung heavy along the land from Featherstone to Dunmore,
And that sterling light on Tuskar Rock, where the old bell tolls each hour,
And the beacon light that shone so bright was quenched on Waterford tower.

What looms upon our starboard bow, what hangs upon the breeze?
'Tis time our good ship hauled her wind abreast the old Saltees,
For by her ponderous press of sail and by her stunted spars
We saw that our morning visitor was a British man-o'-war.

Up spake our noble Captain then as a shot ahead of us passed :
"Haul snug your flowing courses! Lay your topsails to the mast!"
Those Englishmen gave three loud hurrahs from the deck of their covered ark,
And we answered back by a solid broadside from the deck of our patriot bark.

"Out booms! Out booms!" our skipper cried: "Out booms and give her sheet!"
For the swiftest keel that ever was launched in all of the British fleet
Came pondering down upon us with the white foam at her bow;
"Out booms! Out booms! and give her sheet! spare not your canvas now!"

But a swifter keel was 'neath our feet, nor did our sea-boys dread
When the Star-spangled banner was hoisted; to the mizzen peak was spread,
And amid a thundering shower of shot with stunsails hoisting away,
Down the North Channel Paul Jones did steer just at the break of day.
From Roll and Go by Joanna Carver Colcord (1924)