Stand to your guns! my hearts of oak,|
Let not a word on board be spoke,
Victory soon will crown the joke;
Be silent and be ready.
Ram home your guns and sponge them well,
Let us be sure.-. the balls will tell,
The cannon's roar shall sound their knell,
Be steady, boys, be steady.
Not yet, nor yet, nor yet.-.
Reserve your fire,
I do desire, fire!
Now, the elements do rattle,|
The Gods amaz'd behold the battle -
A broadside, my boys.
See the blood in purple tide,
Trickle down her batter'd side,
Wing'd with fate the bullets fly,
Conquer, boys, or bravely die!
Hurl destruction on your foes!
She sinks, Huzza! to the bottom,
To the bottom down she goes!
Thomas Carter, the composer of this song, which enjoyed enormous popularity in the early nineteenth century, was born in Ireland in the second half of the eighteenth century and died in London in 1804 having written scores of songs and several musical dramas. His most famous song - 'Nannie, wilt thou gang wi' me' - achieved an enormous success and earned him a reputation probably far in excess of his true worth as a composer. He did, however, have the knack of turning out a jolly good tune when one was needed. The hymn tune 'Helmsley' - now sung to the words 'Lo, He comes with clouds descending' - was adapted from one of his ballads entitled 'Guardian Angels'.|
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