The Cream of “Punch.” Our Offence to the Yankees.
While wrath distorts thy visage lank and haggard,
Why grin at me, and glare with evil eye?
Why, in the strain of a malignant blackguard,
Jonathan, threaten and revile me – why?
Why so vindictive is your roaring flood
Of foul abuse? What have I done, that makes
You keep declaring that you'll have my blood,
More venomous in spite than maddened snakes?
Not I your landmarks have removed, nor when
You were hard pressed in battle for the right,
A quarrel for a few enlisted men
Did I pick with you, and impede your fight.
Ah! those are wrongs by which one might be driven
To menace, rail, and vow revenge like you.
Such injuries are not to be forgiven
To those who suffer them by those who do.
Title:The Cream of “Punch.” Our Offence to the Yankees.
Date:December 20th 1862
This Punch poem reflects the still sour relations between Britain and the American government at this point during the American Civil War. The low point had been the Trent Affair of the year before, which nearly plunged the nations into armed conflict, but this poem suggests that effectively allowing its citizens to join American Union forces (many Britons travelled to America to fight for the Union) should at least count for something in terms of American animosity to Britain’s nominally neutral government. – SR