The Song Of The Vermonters

   This entry might not actually have been a song popular during the American Revolutionary War. Only one line of text was known for some time. The excerpt below comes from the caption of a picture which is maintained in the Prints Division of the New York Public Library. The single verse available reveals the fervor the residents of Vermont felt toward their province.

We owe no allegiance; We bow to no throne, Our ruler is law, And the law is our own.

   According to early sources, the song was apparently written in 1779. The text resembled the writings of Ethan Allen, causing many people to think that it was actually the work of that Patriot. The song was believed to have been written in 1828. It appeared for the first time in the New-England Magazine, being published anonymously in 1833. Then, in July 1877, in the course of corresponding with Daniel Roberts, John Greenleaf Whittier came forward and claimed that he had been the author of the song, simply as a practical joke. Whittier (1807-1892) would have been twenty-six years old when the song was published. He would certainly have been old enough to compose such a song, but why he would not have desired the fame of being acclaimed as its author is anyone's guess. Whittier's comments to Daniel Roberts, of the New York Times, included that the song was: "an attempt at literary mystification hardly excusable even in a young writer. I was curious to see if it could be received as an old-time production...". Whether Mr. Whittier's claim was true, or whether he craved the notoriety of fooling so many people for so many years, cannot be known with certainty.

   Oscar Brand, in his book Songs Of '76, titled this song: The Green Mountaineer.

Ho, all to the borders! Vermonters come down, With your breeches of deer-skin, and jackets of brown;
With your red woollen caps, and your moccasins, come To the gathering summons of trumpet and drum.
Come down with your rifles! - let gray wolf and fox Howl on the shade of their primitive rocks;
Let the bear feed securely from pig-pen and stall; Here's two-legged game for your powder and ball.
On our South come the Dutchman, enveloped in grease, And arming for battle while canting for peace;
On our East crafty Meshecht had gathered his band, To hang up our leaders and eat out our land.
Ho, al to the rescue! For Satan shall work No gain for his legions of Hampshire and York!
They claim our possessions - the pitiful knaves - The tribute we pay shall be prisons and graves!
Let Clinton and Ten Brock, with bribes in their hands, Still seek to divide us and parcel our lands;
We've coats for our traitors whoever they are - The warp is of feathers, the filling of tar!
Does the "Old Bay State" threaten? Does Congress complain? Swarms Hampshire in arms on our borders again?
Bark the war-dogs of Britain aloud on the lake? Let 'em come! what they can, they are welcome to take.
What seek they among us? The pride of our wealth Is comfort, contentment, and labor, and health,
And lands which as freemen we only have trod, Independent of all save the mercies of God.
Yet we owe no allegiance; we bow to no throne; Our ruler is law and the law is our own;
Our leaders themselves are our own fellow-men, Who can handle the sword, or the scythe, or the pen.
Our wives are all true, and our daughters are fair, With their blue eyes of smiles, and their light flowing hair;
All brisk at their wheels till the dark even-fall, Then blithe at the sleigh-ride, the husking, and ball.
We've sheep on the hillside; we've cows on the plain; And gay-tasseled corn-fields, and rank-growing grain;
There are deer on the mountains, and wood-pigeons fly From the crack of our muskets, like clouds on the sky.
And there's fish in our streamlets and rivers, which take Their course from the hills to our broad-bosomed lake;
Through rock-arched Winooski the salmon leaps free, And the portly shad follows all fresh from the sea.
Like a sunbeam the pickerel glides through his pool; and the spotted trout sleeps where the water is cool,
Or darts from his shelter of rock and of root, At the beaver's quick plunge, or the angler's pursuit.
And ours are the mountains which awfully rise, Till they rest their green heads on the top of the skies;
And ours are the forests unwasted, unshorn, Save where the wild path of the tempest is torn.
And though savage and wild be this climate of ours, And brief be our season of fruits and of flowers,
Far dearer the blast round our mountain which raves, Than the sweet Summer zephyr which breathes over slaves.
Hurrah for Vermont! for the land which we till Must have sons to defend her, from valley and hill;
Leave the harvest to rot on the field where it grows; And the reaping of what for the reaping of foes.
Far from Michiscow's wild valley, to where Poosoomsuck steals fown from his wood-circled lair,
From Shocticook River to Lutterlock town - Ho, all to the rescue! Vermonters, come down!
Come York or come Hampshire, come traitors and knaves, If ye rule o'er our land, ye shall rule o'r our graves;
Our vow is recorded, our banner unfurled, In the name of Vermont we defy all the world!