A Ballad of the Caroline by Anonymous

steamer caroline  

steamer caroline
Artist’s sketch of the Steamer Caroline on Fire at the Brink of the Horseshoe Falls. Image Courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library


Sung to the tune of Yankee Doodle Dandy  

When first Mackenzie’s rebel band
Was beat at Gallows Hill, sir,
To Buffalo they did retreat
And said we used him ill, sir.

CHORUS:

Yankee-doodle, boys, huzzah,
Down, outside, and up the middle;
Yankee-doodle, boys, huzzah,
Trumpet, drum and fiddle.

The Buffalonians sympathized
And kicked up such a roar, sir,
And kicked up such a windy noise
It reached the British shore, sir.  

steamer caroline
The Steamer Caroline Precipitated Over the Falls of Niagara. Image courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

The steamer, bound for Navy Isle,
Left Buffalo one morning
For to assist Mackenzie’s band,
Britannia’s thunder scorning.

But when the lion shook his mane,
And looked a little grim, sir,
He said ’twas not a Texas game
That they could play with him, sir.

A party left the British shore,
Led on by gallant Drew, sir,
To set the Caroline on fire,
And beat her pirate crew, sir.

The Yankees say they did invent
The steamboat first of all, sir;
But Britons taught their Yankee boats
To navigate the Falls, sir.

The spirit of our Wolfe and Brock
Doth still around us hover,
And still we stand on Queenston’s rock
To drive the Yankees over.

No slave shall ever breathe our air,
No tyrant’s laws shall bind us,
So keep your Yankee mob at home
For Britons still you’ll find us.

Source: Kevin McCabe, ed. The Poetry of Old Niagara. St. Catharines, Ont. : Blarney Stone Books, 1999.

Originally published: Jubilee History of Thorold, Township and Town, Thorold, 1897-8

The burning Steamer Caroline went over the Horseshoe Falls on the night of December 29, 1837