Poem by Freneau in four cantos of heroic couplets was published in 1781. In a revision the poem was recast in three cantos. It describes the author's experiences when seized by the British during the Revolutionary War. The first canto tells of his capture; the second describes with bitter satire the horrors of the prison ship Scorpion, where the combination of foul air, rotten food and water, and bad treatment soon made him violently ill; and the third tells of his transfer to a so-called hospital ship, the Hunter, where the treatment was equally inhumane.
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Philip Morin Freneau (1752—1832) revolutionary poet and journalist in America