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Poem by George Pope Morris


The Origin of Yankee Doodle


Once in a time old Johnny Bull
  Flew in a raging fury,
And swore that Jonathan should have
  No trials, sir, by jury;
That no elections should be held
  Across the briny waters:
"And now," said he, "I'll tax the tea
  Of all his sons and daughters."
Then down he sate in burly state,
  And blustered like a grandee,
And in derision made a tune
  Called "Yankee doodle dandy."
"Yankee doodle"--these are the facts--
  "Yankee doodle dandy;
My son of wax, your tea I'll tax--
  You--Yankee doodle dandy!"

John sent the tea from o'er the sea
  With heavy duties rated;
But whether hyson or bohea,
  I never heard it stated.
Then Jonathan to pout began--
  He laid a strong embargo--
"I'll drink no tea, by Jove!"--so he
  Threw overboard the cargo.
Next Johnny sent an armament,
  Big looks and words to bandy,
Whose martial band, when near the land,
  Played--"Yankee doodle dandy."
"Yankee doodle--keep it up!
  Yankee doodle dandy!
I'll poison with a tax your cup--
  You--Yankee doodle dandy!"

A long war then they had, in which
  John was at last defeated;
And "Yankee doodle" was the march
  To which his troops retreated.
Young Jonathan, to see them fly,
  Could not restrain his laughter:
"That tune," said he, "suits to a T,
  I'll sing it ever after!"
Old Johnny's face, to his disgrace,
  Was flushed with beer and brandy,
E'en while he swore to sing no more
  This--"Yankee doodle dandy."
Yankee doodle--ho! ha! he!
  Yankee doodle dandy--
We kept the tune, but not the tea,
  Yankee doodle dandy!

I've told you now the origin
  Of this most lively ditty,
Which Johnny Bull pronounces "dull
  And silly!"--what a pity!
With "Hail Columbia!" it is sung,
  In chorus full and hearty--
On land and main we breathe the strain,
  John made for his tea-party.
No matter how we rhyme the words,
  The music speaks them handy,
And where's the fair can't sing the air
  Of "Yankee doodle dandy!"
"Yankee doodle--firm and true--
  Yankee doodle dandy,
Yankee doodle, doodle doo!
  Yankee doodle dandy!"



George Pope Morris


George Pope Morris's other poems:
  1. Thy Will Be Done
  2. Life in the West
  3. Janet McRea
  4. The Flag of Our Union
  5. A Legend of the Mohawk


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