Independence Day posed a question:
Q.) What does a poetry blogger give an internet audience who has everything?
A.) Thirty stanzas of Yankee Doodle, of course!
Below, (courtesy of “The Oxford Book of American Light Verse” 1979) is a fairly complete version of this old satirical ditty. Other stanzas, along with the song’s history, have been lost to the ravages of time. Scholars continue to dispute Yankee Doodle’s origins. The catchy tune is thought to be derived from an old folk song. The stanzas below are traceable as far back as the Seven Year’s War.
Yankee Doodle was sung by the British to mock the Americans, who then appropriated it and rewrote the lyrics in the spirit of turnabout. The rest is history . . . .
Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!
Yankee Doodle went to town
A-riding on a pony,
Stuck a feather in his cap
And called it “macaroni.”
Chorus: (between stanzas)
Yankee Doodle keep it up,
Yankee Doodle dandy,
Mind the music and the step,
And with the girls be handy.
Father and I went down to camp,
Along with Captain Gooding,
And there we saw the men and boys
As thick as hasty pudding.
And there we saw a thousand men
As rich as Squire David,
And what they wasted every day,
I wish it could be saved.
The ‘lasses they eat it every day,
Would keep a house a winter;
They have so much, that I’ll be bound,
They eat it when they’ve mind to.
And there I see a swamping gun
Large as a log of maple,
Upon a deuced little cart,
A load for father’s cattle.
And every time they shoot it off,
It takes a horn of powder,
and makes a noise like father’s gun,
Only a nation louder.
I went as nigh to one myself
As Siah’s underpinning;
And father went as nigh again,
I thought the deuce was in him.
Cousin Simon grew so bold,
I thought he would have cocked it;
It scared me so I shrinked it off
And hung by father’s pocket.
And Captain Davis had a gun,
He kind of clapt his hand on’t
And stuck a crooked stabbing iron
Upon the little end on’t
And there I see a pumpkin shell
As big as mother’s basin,
And every time they touched it off
They scampered like the nation.
I see a little barrel too,
The heads were made of leather;
They knocked on it with little clubs
And called the folks together.
And there was Captain Washington,
And gentle folks about him;
They say he’s grown so ‘tarnal proud
He will not ride without em’.
He got him on his meeting clothes,
Upon a slapping stallion;
He sat the world along in rows,
In hundreds and in millions.
The flaming ribbons in his hat,
They looked so tearing fine, ah!
I wanted dreadfully to get
To give to my Jemima.
I see another snarl of men
A digging graves they told me,
So ‘tarnal long, so ‘tarnal deep,
They ‘tended they should hold me.
It scared me so, I hooked it off,
Nor stopped, as I remember,
Nor turned about till I got home,
Locked up in mother’s chamber.
Brother Ephraim sold his cow
And bought him a commission,
And then he went to Canada
To fight for the nation.
But when Ephraim he came home
He proved and arrant coward,
He wouldn’t fight the Frenchmen there
For fear of being devoured.
Sheep’s head and vinegar,
Buttermilk and tansy,
Boston is a Yankee town––
Sing Hey Doodle Dandy.
First we’ll take a pinch of snuff,
And then a drink of water,
And then we’ll say, “How do you do” ––
And that’s a Yankee’s supper.
Aminadab is just come home,
His eyes all greased with bacon,
And all the news that he could tell
Is Cape Breton is taken.
Stand up, Johnathan
Figure in they neighbor;
Vathen, stand a little off
And make the some some wider.
Christmas is a coming, boys,
We’ll go to Mother Chase’s.
And there we’ll get some sugar dram
sweetened with molasses.
Heigh ho for our Cape Cod,
Heigh ho Nantasket,
Do not let the Boston wags
Feed your oyster basket.
Pumpkin pie is very good.
And so is apple lantern,
Had you been whipped as oft as I
You’d not have been so wanton.
Uncle is a Yankee man,
In faith, he pays us all off,
And he as got a fiddle
As big as Daddy’s hog trough.
Seth’s mother went to Lynn
To by a pair of breeches,
The first time Vathen put them on
He tore out all the stitches.
Dolly Bushel let a fart.
Jenny Jones she found it,
Ambrose carried it to mill
Where Doctor Warren ground it.
Our Jemimah’s lost her mare
And can’t tell where to find her,
But she’ll come trotting by and by
And bring her tail behind her.
Two and two may go to bed,
Two and two together;
And if there is not room enough,
Lie one atop the other.