Pacem, Peagrim, Precamur.

Oh dear, you inopportune Peagrim,
It’s enough to give anyone meagrim,
To think of the row you may get us in now,
By your conduct, inopportune Peagrim!
The ship Harvey Birch on the sea grim
You might board and might burn, Captain Peagrim,
And we only should say, in a casual way,
‘Twas unlucky she met Captain Peagrim!
But when in Southampton you free, grim,
The prisoners you’ve caught, Captain Peagrim,
We are placed in a fix, to pronounce if your tricks
Are a hero’s, or pirate’s, oh Peagrim!
Thus placed betwixt two fires by Peagrim,
Mr. Punch is afflicted with meagrim:
He would fain be impartial in any court-martial
That’s held on the status of Peagrim.
A lieutenant’s commission holds Peagrim,
But that won’t on the wall stick the flea, grim.
Though lieutenant he be, that’s no warrant at sea
Giving powers of capture to Peagrim.
Yet as pirate we can’t give up Peagrim,
At the yard-arm straight run up to be, grim;
Which Adams, I fear, will declare ‘tis quite clear,
Is the right sort of treatment for Peagrim.
Yet to make casus belli of Peagrim –
Loose the war-dogs, by land and by sea, grim;
For a Man with that name! On the annals of fame
To inscribe, not Britannia, but Peagrim.
Then let’s all pray for peace spite of Peagrim:
May war-fears pass off like a meagrim;
And by hook or by crook may we live to rebuke
Those who feel apprehensions from Peagrim.

Title:Pacem, Peagrim, Precamur (from Punch)


Publication:Ormskirk Advertiser

Published in:

Date:November 28th 1861

Keywords:politics, war


This satirical Punch poem refers to an incident early in the American Civil War (November 9th 1861) when the Confederate steamer, the CSS Nashville, boarded and burned the American merchant ship the Harvey Birch, not far off Southampton in the UK. The fact that the first significant naval action occurred off British waters brought the global nature of the conflict into focus, and the irony of the fact that this action was taken not far from where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail from in the seventeenth century is clearly not lost on the writer. The captain of the Confederate vessel was called ‘Pegram’, hence the repeated pun, and title referring to a Latin phrase meaning ‘praise the peacemaker’. – SR