He Has Not Yet Begun to Fight

John Paul Jones is often considered one of the Fathers of the United States Navy. He was a privateer who joined the Continental Navy during the American Revolutionary War. However, since he worked with mercenaries, pirates, and other soldiers of fortune under his command, he found himself betrayed by his own crew on more than one occasion.

This was the case during the Battle of Flamborough Head when the Alliance, one of the ships in Jones’s squadeon when he was in command of the USS Bonhomme Richard, opened fire on Jones’s ship in an attempt to steal all the glory of sinking the British ships. Nevertheless, John Paul Jones continued to find success, defeat his enemies, and live to tell the tale in spite of such treachery, time and time again.

One can only wonder how impactful Jones would have been if he had a loyal crew at his side. This poem recounts the tale of Jones’s pyrrhic victory at Flamborough Head when despite the odds against him, Jones managed not only to secure victory after his ship was critically damaged, but managed to capture and commandeer the enemy’s command ship.

John Paul Jones and the Battle of Flamborough Head
An artist’s depiction of John Paul Jones and the Battle of Flamborough Head.

Outnumbered at sea
Off the coast of hostile land
Far from home, they be
One young mercenary band
John Paul Jones, his name
A rascal with luck's good grace
To him, war, a game
In battle, he found his place
Hear the drums of war
Ships stare one another down
Here at Flamborough
Where young men have come to drown
All that's right goes wrong
Cannons ring across the sea
Gunfire sings a song
A song full of suffering
A battle rages
Pain and fury fill mens's hearts
For all the ages
A final test of one's art
Traitors hunt glory
Firing on both friend and foe
For their own story
They risk everyone they know
His ship broken through
Fire and water close in
One thing left to do
If free men are yet to win
Their ships bind up tight
Jones gives the order to board
Charging in to fight
The gunfire, brave men ignored
Surrender, they say?
He's not yet begun to fight
They would rue this day
Those who challenged Jones's might
Gun and blade are drawn
Free men face death with courage
Friends and brothers gone
Those who survive are savage
Pushing to the brink
All efforts made to destroy
None can hear or think
Yet fate would favor these boys
A stroke of luck came
A stray grenade met its mark
Soon to light a flame
And end the fight with a spark
Jones found victory
And they said he brought freedom
To all the high seas
Sorely did the sea need him
A pirate they say
The Terror of the English
He did win this day
His foes surely to anguish
Hero or villain
Surely not a man of ill
Though he was wanton
Always seeking too much thrill
A hero we know
Untethered as he had been
He found his way home
As a true American
And this was the tale
Of he known as John Paul Jones
Always to prevail
He had a will made of stone

Creative Commons License

All posts by The Pen and Sword are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Published by Louis

I am a freelance writer from the United States.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: