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In 1778 the British Parliament attempted to lure the colonists with conciliatory gestures, and to get them to turn against the Congress. Commissioners were sent to America to carry out the plot to sway the war-weary Patriots toward the Loyalist side. The majority of the people were not persuaded by the commissioners' arguments. This song was written as a reply to the British commissioners.
The Gamester was written to the tune of a song titled A Late Worthy Old Lion. It appeared on the 16 July 1778 issue of the Pennsylvania Evening Post.
West of the old Atlantic, firm Liberty stands! Hov'ring Fame just alighted, supported by bands
Of natives free born, who loud echoing sing, We'll support our just rights 'gainst tyrannic kings!"
Caral-laddy - caral-laddy - caral-laddy.
George the Third she disowns and his proud lordly cheats, His murdering legions and half-famish'd fleets;
To the Jerseys sneak'd off, with fear quite dismay'd, Although they much boasted, that fighting's their trade.
Our just rights to assert, hath the Congress oft tried, Whose wisdom and strength our opponents deride,
And still madly in rage their weak thunders are hurl'd, To bring us on our knees and to bully the world.
Too haughty to yield, yet too weak to withstand, They skulk to their ships and leave us the firm land;
In dread lest they share what Jack Burgoyne did feel, And the game be quite lost, as poor Jack had lost deal.
Jack, thinking of cribbage, all fours, or of put, With a dextrous hand, he did shuffle and cut,
And when likely to lose - like a sharper they say - Did attempt to renege - I mean, run away.
But watch'd so closely, he could not play booty, Yet to cheat he fain would, for George - 'twas his duty;
A great bet depending on that single game; Dominion and honor - destruction and shame.
Examin'd with care his most critical hand, At a loss, if better to beg or to stand,
His tricks rechon'd up; for all sharpers can jangle; Then kick'd up a dust, for his favorite wrangle.
'Twas diamond cut diamond, spades were of no use, But to dig up the way for surrender and truce;
For he dreaded the hand that dealt out such thumps; As the hearts were run out, and clubs were then trumps.
Thus he met with the rubbers, as the game it turn'd out, Poor Jack, although beat, made a damnable rout,
Complain'd he was cheated, and pompously talks; Quit the game with a curse, while he rubb'd out the chalks.
The haughty great George then to peace is now prone; A bully when matched soon can alter his tone;
'Tis the act of a Briton to bluster and threaten; Hangs his tail like a spaniel, when handsomely beaten.
Charge your glasses lip high, to brave Washington sing, To the union so glorious the whole world shall ring;
May their councils in wisdom and valor unite, And the men ne'er be wrong, who yet so far are right.
To Gates and to Arnold, with bumpers we'll join, And to all our brave troops who took gambling Burgoyne.
May their luck still increase, as they've turn'd up one Jack, To cut and turn up all the knaves in the pack.
Note: The midi file that is linked to this page was sequenced by ----- -----, and included on the Major Henry Livingston, Jr website at: http://www.iment.com/maida/familytree/henry/music/