The Yankee Tea-Party
by Hannah Flagg Gould
King George sat high on his family throne,
The 'lord of the isles,' that were fairly his own,
And might have sufficed, had his majesty known
The folly of coveting more.
But, seeking a tribute his pomp to maintain,
He reached from his island to grasp at the main,
Intending his coffers should swell with the gain
Brought off from a distant shore.
And when he had summoned in solemn array,
His ministers round him to canvass the way
In which they might make the Americans pay
The costs of the royal court,
'Our liege,' said they,'there's many a ship
That might be sent out on an Eastern trip,
And freighted with tea for the New World to sip,
And do it for our support.'
'T is done! said the king,
and 't is a bright thought!
For this kind of sponging is easily wrought;
The ships shall with Indian leaves be fraught,
And sent to our subject land.
We'll make Columbia swallow our tea,
And pay the duty, far over the sea,
On every pound, for our 'powers that be'
To put in our royal hand!
And so, in due season, and true royal state,
With their sails puffed out, and their heads held straight,
When the ships rode up,with their well-packed freight,
To the shores of the western world,
This order imperious echoed around,
The teas must be bought, and the buyer is bound
To pay us a duty on every pound,
As the canvass in port was furled.
No! said the Friends in the city of PENN,
George is a mortal, and Quakers are men!
Your leaves may float off o'er the ocean again;
For soberly we protest,
That we never will open a traitorous door
To let such a cargo come into a store!
Unentered, unopened, withdraw from our shore
The treasures of every chest!
No! was the word in the place of the DUTCH;
'T is grinding our faces a little too much,
Broad as they be! and your teas shall not touch
Our land, while by us it is trod!
The duty we owe to ourselves and the throne,
Is, not to be crushed by a foot like our own!
And that of the Briton is quite overgrown.
We'll have it more tightly shod!
But the spirited Yankees knew just the thing
That would suit themselves, if it didn't the king,
And when the proud sails came flying to bring
Their freight o'er the glassy bay,
They met and agreed that 't would not be right
His majesty's offer of tea to slight;
For they viewed the affair in a national light,
As they showed in a national way.
They joined in a council; and forming a band
Arrayed like the genuine sons of the land,
In blanket and feather; with hatchet in hand;
And their faces and limbs o'erlaid
With a copper-hued coating of paint, they took
Their way to the ships, while the tomahawks shook;
And their wild
pow-wow made the royalist look
Aghast for the turn of his trade.
Come, said the visiters,
now for our tea!
We'll take it on deck, if you please, and see,
Of gunpowder, souchong, skin, hyson, bohea,
Which flavor we like the best!
Then, box after box came up close packed;
And lid after lid was smitten and cracked!
As the red hand worked, and the tomahawk hacked,
And entered the odorous chest.
This, said the company,
this is the way
That we, the YANKEES, are going to pay
Our duty on teas, and help to defray
The cost of the kingly cup.
We're going to leave every pound to steep,
With its impost on, in the boiling deep --
In a good, strong brine, where we guess it will keep
Till the Parliament draws it up!
Then, over the sides of the ship they poured
The treasures of every box on board,
Till the cargo was out, and the dock was floored
With the leaves of the Indian tree!
We'll let, cried they,
old England know,
That, bending too much, she may break the bow!
Columbia's spirit can't stoop so low
As three pence a pound on tea!
Source:Poems By Miss H. F. Gould. Volume 2.
Hilliard, Gray, & Co., Boston