Dalhousie University Archives

Nova Scotia Ballads

[Page 1]

Come All You British Heroes 1

Come all you British heroes 2,
I pray you lend your ears .
Draw up your British forces,
And then your volunteers.
We're going to fight the Yankee3 boys
By water and by land,
Chorus - And we will never return til we conquer sword in hand.
We're the noble lads of Canada
Come to arms, boys, come.
O now the time has come my boys ,
To cross the Yankee's line.
We remember they were rebels once ,
And conquered John Burgoyne4.
We'll subdue these mighty democrats
And pull their dwellings down,
And we'll have the States5 inhabitated
With subjects to the Crown6.
We've as choice a British army
As ever crossed the seas.
We'll burn both town and city,
And with smoke becloud the skies.
We'll subdue the old green mountain, boys,
Their Washington7 is gone.
And we'll play them Yankee Doodle
As the Yankees did Burgoyne.
Now we've reached the Plattsburgh banks, my boys,
And here we'll make our stand,
Until we take the Yankee fleet
MacDonald hath command;
We've the "Growler"8 and the "Eagle"9
That from Smith9 we took away,
And we'll have their noble fleet
That lies anchored in the bay.


Other versions of this ballad have the title of 'Noble Lads of Canada', and include further stanzas. See: http://sniff.numachi.com/pages/tiNOBLELAD.html
This ballad provides a re-telling of the Battle of Plattsburgh during the War of 1812, which occurred from November 6th to 11th, 1814. The battle marked the end of the final invasion of the northern United States by British forces. A combined land and naval assault under the command of British General Sir George Prévost (land forces) and Captain George Downie (naval squadron) attacked the town of Plattsburgh on Lake Champlain. The United States naval forces under the command of Master Commandant Thomas Macdonough defeated the British naval squadron, and the British ground forces retreated soon after under pressure from United States troops led by Brigadier General Alexander Macomb. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Plattsburgh
'Yankee' is a colloquial name for American.
John Burgoyne was a British military officer whose surrender to United States troops during the American Revolutionary War helped galvanize France's entry into the conflict. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Burgoyne#Early_American_War_of_Independence
'States' is a colloquial name for the United States.
'Crown' is a colloquial name for the British Empire.
Refers to General and later President George Washington. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Washington
USS Growler was a sloop captured by the Royal Navy prior to the Battle of Plattsburgh, and renamed HMS Chubb. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Growler_%281812_sloop%29
HMS Eagle was an American gunboat captured by the Royal Navy prior to the Battle of Plattsburg. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Eagle
Refers to Lieutenant Sidney Smith, commander of the USS Growler prior to its capture by the Royal navy. See:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Growler_%281812_sloop%29
Anonymous. Date: 2014-10-16