This wasn’t consciously planned, but this weeks selection, while relatively plain and bloodily straight-forward, is a fitting pean to the sailors and crew who fought with Sterret in the war with Tripoli, which is also the source of the line “to the shores of Tripoli” in the Marine anthem.
As Kipling reminds us, they are not plaster saints. Nevertheless, those that fought for us, with their bravery and courage to face death and destruction, deserve to be remembered.
The original text of this can be seen in the archives at Umich, in their online display of information related to the war with the barbary pirates:
“Sterret’s Sea Fight”
–anonymous broadside, 1801
Stand to your guns, my hearts of oak,
Let not a word onboard be spoke,
Victory soon will crown the joke;
Be silent and be ready.
Ram down your guns and spunge them well,
Let us be sure the balls will tell,
The cannons’ roar shall sound their knell;
Be steady boys, be steady.
Not yet, nor yet — reserve your fire,
Says brave Sterret —- Fire!
And sink those Moorish Tripolines,
All were amaz’d who beheld the scenes.
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,
Be steady and defend your rights.
She’s silent — huzza!
To Columbia’s flag she strikes.