The Cornwallis Country Dance

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   As noted in the page devoted to the Yankee Doodle, a portion of these verses constituted one of the variations of that song. The entire song, in the singular form presented on this page, was written to comment on General Cornwallis and his army following his defeat at Yorktown on 19 October 1781.

   Rather than Yankee Doodle, these verses were usually set to the tune of Pop Goes The Weasel.

Cornwallis led a country dance, its like was never seen, Sir; Much retrograde and much advance and all with General Greene, Sir.
They rambled up, they rambled down, joined hands and then they run, Sir; Our General Greene to Charlestown, and the Earl to Wilmington, Sir.
Greene, in the South, then danced a set, and got a mighty name, Sir; Cornwallis jigged with Fayette, but suffered in his fame, Sir.
Then down he figured to the shore, most like a lordly dancer, And on his courtly honor swore, he would no more advance, Sir.
Quoth he "My guards are weary grown with doing country dances, They never at St. James' had shown at capers, kicks or prances."
No men so gallant there were seen while saunt'ring on parade, Sir; Or dancing o'er the park so green, or at the masquerade, Sir.
Yet are red heels and long-laced skirts for stumps and briars meet, Sir? Or stand they chance with hunting-shirts or hardy veteran feet, Sir?
Now housed in York he challenged all, at minuet or allemande, And lessons for a courtly ball his guards by day and night conned.
Good Washington, Columbia's son, whom easy nature taught, Sir; That grace that can't by pains be won, nor Plutus' gold be bought, Sir.
Now hand in hand they circle round the ever-dancing peer, Sir; Their gentle movements soon confound the Earl, as he draws near, Sir.
His music he forgets to play, his feet can't move no more, Sir; And all his men now curse the day they jigged to our shore, Sir.
Now Tories all, what can you say? Cornwallis is no griper, But while your hopes are danced away, 'tis you must pay the piper.


   Note: The midi file linked to this page was sequenced by Mark Purintun, whose website is located at: