Digital History>eXplorations>John Brown: Hero or Terrorist?> John Brown in his Own Words>The Fright of Old Virginia


Being a condensed Account of the Harper's Ferry Insurrection, October 16th, 1859.



Oh! have you heard the news of late,
Astonishing both small and great,
Which took place in a neighboring State:
The chivalrous State of Virginia.
There was a chap called old John Brown,
In Kansas he had some renown;
He left that state and settled down,
Near Harper's Ferry--a small town.
A notion in his heart took he,
That Slavery should never be,
And so he raised a mighty spree,
In the State of Old Virginia.

CHORUS--Virginia is the state, you know,
That never feared a mortal foe;
But chivalry was rather low,
When Brown came to Old Virginia.

As the important hour drew near,
His men around him did appear,
With hearts so bold to strike with fear,
The folks of Old Virginia.
They spoke of things that they would do,
Their deeds of daring not a few,
They'd guns, swords, pikes, and pistols too;
Though men they had but twenty-two.
They struck a blow for Freedom's sake,
And Harper's Ferry they did take,
Five thousand souls with fear did quake.
Oh! shivering State of Virginia.

CHORUS--Virginia is the state, &c.

The attack was made at dead of night,
The people were astonished quite;
Next morning showed a sorry sight,
To chivalrous Old Virginia.
Brown's army took the Arsenal,
Some prisoners in their clutches fell;
All things had turned out mighty well,
Which made Virginia stare a spell.
Over telegraphs the news soon flew,
It aroused Virginia through and through,
And soldiers came by thousands too!
To save poor Old Virginia.


Brown's men did all that they could do,
But as they numbered but a few,
They were obliged to give in to
The chivalrous State of Virginia.
To prison with old Brown they hied,
And soon for murder he was tried,
And with indecent haste beside,
To hang him soon they did decide.
The Judge named quite an early day,
To hang old Brown without delay,
For fear that he would run away,
From chivalrous Old Virginia.


Virginia opened now her eyes,
And swore to guard against surprise,
So they send word to Mister Wise,
The Governor of Virginia.
"Send Soldiers here without delay
Or they will spirit Brown away."
So Wise dispatched that very day,
Some fifteen hundred men, they say,
They stationed them around the jail,
With heads erect and faces pale,
All shivering when they heard the tale,
Of Brown and Old Virginia.


Old Brown's last hour was drawing near,
And all Virginia quaked with fear,
Lest John Brown's friends would soon appear,
To take him from Virginia.
Some jolly wags did letters write
To Wise, which made him raving, quite;
Says they, "ere long, at dead midnight,
Brown's friends will come, with main & might;
To rescue him is their intent,
And on revenge they are bent,
Unles more volunteers are sent,
They'll ravish all Virginia.


Quite strange to all it must appear,
That Governor Wise should act so queer,
For all must know there is no fear,
In chivalrous Old Virginia.
He ordered guard, both night and day,
In lanes, streets, alleys and highway.
All strangers in the town, they say,
Arrested were, or sent away;
Some man had merely said, 'poor Brown'
He soon was ordered out of town,
By orders of that frightened clown,
Old Wise of Old Virginia.


The day of execution came,
And Brown determined to die game,
By doing so he'd put to shame,
The cowards of Old Virginia.
The scaffold now appeared in sight,
Old Brown was guarded left and right,
By soldiers too, surrounded quite;
All fearing he might take to flight.
The soldiers trembled at each sound,
As they were marching o'er the ground,
The scouts were riding miles around,
To guard brave Old Virginia.


Upon the scaffold Brown does stand,
The bravest of that little band,
Calmly awaiting the demand,
Of chivalrous Old Virginia.
At his last hour his foes did fear,
That he might make a speech, 'tis clear;
So that his voice might reach no ear,
The soldiers kept all in their rear.
The trap soon fell, no more to rise,
Brown died as every brave man dies,
A victim to that coward Wise,
And shivering Old Virginia.


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