The Rebels

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Melody - "Black Joak"
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Captain Smyth, Simcoe’s Queens Rangers, 1778

Ye brave honest subjects who dare to be loyal,
And have stood the brunt of every trial,
Of hunting shirts and rifle guns;
Come listen awhile and I’ll tell you a song;
I’ll show you those Yankees are all in the wrong,
Who, with blustering look and most awkward gait,
‘Gainst their lawful sovereign dare for to prate,
With their hunting shirts and rifle guns.

2. The arch-rebels, barefooted tatterdemalions,
In baseness exceed all other rebellions,
With their hunting shirts and rifle guns:
To rend the empire, the most infamous lies,
Their mock-patriot Congress, do always devise;
Independence, like the first rebels, they claim,
But their plots will be damned in the annals of fame,
With their hunting shirts and rifle guns.

3. Forgetting the mercies of Great Britain’s King,
Who saved their forefathers’ necks from the string,
With hunting shirts and rifle guns,
They renounce all allegiance and take up their arms,
Assemble together like hornets in swarms,
So dirty their backs, and so wretched their show,
That carrion-crow follows wherever they go,
With their hunting shirts and rifle guns.

4. With loud peels of laughter, your sides, sirs, would crack,
To see General Convict and Colonel Shoe-Black,
With their hunting shirts and rifle-guns.
See cobblers and quacks, rebel priests and the like,
Pettifoggers and barbers, with sword and with pike,
All strutting the standard of Satan beside,
And honest names using, their black deeds to hide,
With their hunting shirts and rifle guns.

5. This perjured banditti, now ruin this land,
And o’er its poor people claim lawless command,
With their hunting shirts and rifle guns.
Their pasteboard dollars prove a common curse,
They don’t chink like silver and gold in our purse,
With nothing their leaders have paid their debts off,
Their honor’s, dishonour, and justice they scoff,
With their hunting shirts and rifle guns.

6. For one lawful ruler, many tyrants we’ve got,
Who force young and old to their wars, to be shot,
With their hunting shirts and rifle guns.
Our good King, God speed him! never used men so,
We then could speak, act, and like freemen could go,
But committees enslave us, our liberty’s gone,
Our trade and church murdered; our country’s undone,
By hunting shirts and rifle guns.

7. Come take up your glasses, each true loyal heart,
And may every rebel meet his due desert,
With his hunting shirt and rifle gun.
May Congress, Conventions, those damned inquisitions,
Be fed with hot sulphur from Lucifer’s kitchens,
May commerce and peace again be restored,
And Americans own their true sovereign lord.
Then oblivion to shirts and rifle guns.
God Save the King!


From the Pennyslvania Ledger, 1778. This song pretty much sums up the loyalist view of many Colonials. The lyrics are full of anger and sarcasm. To think that I learned as a child that ALL Americans wanted freedom. Another example of, as my father always said, "The winners write the history books".

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