Prepare to Live with Disappointment

Political Jesuitism--or interest versus principle


LEAVE VAIN REGRETS.
Tune. — Auld Lang Syne.

Leave vain regrets for errors past.,
Nor cast that ship away —
But nail your colours to the mast,
And strike for Harry Clay,
And strike for Harry Clay, my boys ,
And strike for Harry Clay,
And nail your colours to the mast,
And strike for Henry Clay.

From him no treason need be fear’d,
Your cause he’ll ne’er betray,
What name to Freemen so endear’d,
As that of Harry Clay,
As that of Harry Clay, my boys,
As that of Harry Clay,
Whose name to freemen so endear’d,
As that of Harry Clay.

No vain abstractions fill his head,
To lead his heart away,
For every noble promise made
Is kept by Harry Clay.
Is kept by Harry Clay, my boys,
Is kept by Harry Clay,
For every noble promise made
Is kept by Harry Clay.

Then let not ruin’s hated form
Thus fill you with dismay,
But gathering strength to breast the storm
Stand fast by Harry Clay.
Stand fast by Harry Clay, my boys,
Stand fast by Harry Clay,
But gathering strength to brave the storm
Stand fast by Harry Clay.

Rise, bravely rise, one effort more,
Your motto thus display,
Protection for our native shore,
Sustained by Harry Clay.
Sustained by Harry Clay, my boys,
Sustained by Harry Clay,
Protection for our native shore,
Sustained by Harry Clay.

And o’er our gallant Chieftain’s* grave,
Pledge we our faith this day.
In weal or wo, no change to know.
Till triumphs Harry Clay.
Till triumphs Harry Clay, my boys,
Till triumphs Harry Clay,
In weal or wo, no change to know,
Till triumphs Harry Clay.

*The lamented Harrison.


NOTES:

A bit of a confusing image in the first stanza, referring to the ship of state:  first one is required to nail one’s colors to the mast, then one is required to strike — but striking one’s colors means hauling them down, in signal of surrender.   (Nailing your colors to the mast means ‘never surrender,’ as striking one’s colors is then impossible.)

‘Treason’ here means “vetoing Whig legislation,” as Tyler had done.

The “vain abstractions” are theoretical emanations of the Constitution,  which Tyler used to explain his vetoes.  If one were unkindly disposed to Clay, one could say that he was claiming he wouldn’t be bothered by ethics, principles,  or consistency.

“Protection” refers to protective tariffs, the Whigs’ answer to every economic ill (or, at least, those that wouldn’t be cured by a central bank and paper money).

And still lamenting Harrison, who died after only 32 days in office.


Tomorrow: Oh, Henry Clay Will Be the Man

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One Response to Prepare to Live with Disappointment

  1. Pingback: 1844 Whig Songbook Index | Madhouse Manor

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