The Man Who Burned the White House Down

from by David Rovics



Robert Ross was from Rostrevor, he was born there in County Down
His family was given land there by the British Crown
He was a man born of the gentry, born with wealth and fame
But he joined the British Army to serve his Queen and make his name

In the Napoleonic Wars he fought in many lands
In Holland and in Spain and on the far-off Egyptian sands
He was wounded there in battle, came back to fight another day
And he was sent off to attack the USA

York had been sacked and burned by invading Yankee men
But the Canadians regrouped, chased the Yankees home and then
The British Navy made its way to the shores of DC town
Where General Ross burned the White House down

The year was 1814, the US was in retreat
It was a Canadian victory, an American defeat
Without the French to help them, they got their ass whipped by the Crown
When General Ross burned the White House down

The place had just been constructed only twelve years before
But it had to be rebuilt, soon after this disastrous war
The President turned tail and ran like a raggedy clown
When General Ross burned the White House down

He was killed a few months later, Irish rebels stopped him in his tracks
He was buried in Nova Scotia, in the town of Halifax
He might have been forgotten, but he’ll forever be renowned
He’s the man who burned the White House down


from Letter to My Landlord, released March 28, 2016




David Rovics Portland, Oregon

"Absolutely brilliant. David Rovics says exactly what needs to be said."
Ian McMillan, BBC


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