The Rebels

Click this icon to hear The Black Joke if it does not automatically play.
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   The title of this song betrays its Loyalist background. It was written in 1778 by a Captain Smyth. Smyth was an officer in Simcoe's Queen's Rangers.

   The Rebels was intended to be sung to the tune of the old song, Black Joke according to the notice that appeared with it in the Pennsylvania Ledger. The Black Joke, variously, Black Joak, was a bawdy song popular around London as early as 1730.

Ye brave, honest subjects, who dare to be loyal, And have stood the brunt of every trial,
Of hunting-shirts, and rifle-guns:
Come listen awhile, and I'll sing you a song. I'll show you, those Yankees are all in the wrong,
Who, with blustering look and most awkward gait, 'Gainst their lawful sovereign dare for to prate,
With their hunting-shirts, and rifle-guns.
The arch-rebels, barefooted tatterdemalions, In baseness exceed all other rebellions,
With their hunting-shirts, and their rifle-guns.
To rend the empire, the most infamous lies, Their mock-patriot Congress, do always devise;
Independence, like the first of rebels, they claim, But their plots will be damn'd in the annals of fame,
With their hunting-shirts, and rifle-guns.
Forgetting the mercies of Great Britain's king, Who saved their forefathers' necks from the string;
With their hunting-shirts, and rifle guns.
They renounce allegiance and take up their arms, Assemble together like hornets in swarms,
So dirty their backs, and so wretched their show, That carrion-crow follows wherever they go,
With their hunting-shirts, and rifle-guns.
For one lawful ruler, many tyrants we've got, Who force young and old to their wars, to be shot,
With their hunting-shirts, and rifle-guns.
Our good king, God speed him! Never used men so, We then could speak, act, and like freemen could go;
But committees enslave us, our Liberty's gone, Our trade and church murder'd; our country's undone,
By hunting-shirts, and rifle-guns.
Come take up your glasses, each true loyal heart, And may every rebel meet his due desert,
With his hunting-shirt, and rifle-gun.
May Congress, Conventions, those damn'd inquisitions, Be fed with hot sulfur, from Lucifer's kitchens,
May commerce and peace again be restored, And Americans own their true sovereign lord.
The oblivion to shirts, and rifle-guns.
God save the King.


   Note: The midi file that is linked to this page was sequenced by Ron Clarke, whose website is located at: