Banastre Tarleton



Me name’s Banastre Tarleton; do you remember me?
I was “Bloody Ban” for all those things I did with glee
against the Patriots that George Washington thanked
for fighting to make Mad King George’s colonies free.

The son of merchant John Tarleton, a mayor of Liverpool:
I was a red-haired runt racking up debts at university,
headed to be a wastrel, a gambling, whoring, drunken fool,
but when I entered the army, all changed quite dramatically.

I was the smart dragoon in green uniform, plumed helmet;
I made my name capturing the Americans’ General Lee,
went down to the south and became the enemy’s scourge;
at Camden, Guilford Courthouse, I made the enemy flee.

Aye, I was Lord Cornwallis’s right-hand man, his enforcer,
I hunted down Buford’s men, gave them no quarter
at the Waxhaws. We cut them down: a sight to see.
We almost turned the tide in the south, dem me!

Got wacked by Morgan at the Cowpens, blast the fellow!
But I chased their celebrated Tom Jefferson from Monticello.
Then we British defeated Nat Greene at Eutaw Springs.
Argh, though I lost two of my blessed fingers, poor things!

Yes, I tell you truly, the war there was ours for the taking,
but the French, those yellow curs, once again did us dirty.
Rochambeau and Washington bottled us up at Yorktown.
On that sad, dishonoured day, we laid our weapons down.

I returned to Liverpool a hero: the dashing cavalryman.
I held up my mutilated hand and people cheered me on:
fishwives with branches of green shouted for Ban!
To them, I was no bloody fiend -- I was their champion!

I stood for Parliament; after a disappointment, took my seat!
As MP for Liverpool, Tarleton would never admit defeat!
I defended slavery -- you might see that as a blight on me.
It was the Tarletons' trade -- 'twas what made Liverpool rich!

The King made me a Baronet: Gen. Sir Banastre Tarleton.
Some prefer abolitionist Roscoe, by whom I was chastised,
but I died honoured. To Yanks, I'm Bloody Ban, yet I was
a warrior, never apologised for the colourful life I had led.

By Christopher T. George