59. Le Baton Militaire.
Nor a sharp-pointed one but as dull as a brick;
Nor a smooth-sided one, but as rough as a hog;
Nor a comely-shaped one, but as foul as a frog;
Or a lobster that lazily lolls on a log,
Forms the stock of this song of a stick.
Not the stage stick, who strides, and who stalks, and who slides,
And who whispers her “points,” and who yells her “asides;”
Nor the stick of long peppermint, painted with stripes;
Not the gingerbread stick, nor the stick used for types;
Nor the sticks in the pile where the Afric was found;
Nor the sticks up in steeples, nor sticks underground ;
Nor the mock-auction stick with his blarney and tricks,
Where Rural was stuck with his hat full of bricks,
And with knife, minus blades, and with watch, minus ticks;
Nor the sticks used for walking, nor Stygian Styx;
Nor the sticks of ratan, which the school-marms prepare;
But the stick of all sticks — Le Baton Militaire.
He's a soft sort of one, he's a slippery one--
He looks as if Nature had made him in fun.
He's as noisy as juveniles full of their tricks,
When they rattle the railings with riotous sticks.
He's as proud as a peacock, with tail in full glory;
He's as proud as a rebel, or Tennessee tory,
When he boasts of a theft, or a massacre gory.
He walks like a duck, or he moves around you,
With a hop, skip, and jump, like a wild kangaroo,
And his brass-buttoned coat-tail incessantly swings,
Like a mule's or a bull's when the blue-bottle stings;
Or he stands like a cow, when considering her cud,
If his bright patent leathers are sprinkled with mud
And pricks up his ears at the mention of blood.
He's stern with small boys, and with weak-minded men,
Like an owl sitting on the same perch with a wren;
But he's affable, loud, when with drunkards and gluttons,
And his breast, like a Poeter's, swells under its buttons.
He hates all that “nonsense” the ladies prepare,
With stockings and shirts for sick soldiers to wear.
He's sour it they're homely, he's sweet if they're fair;
He's the stick of all sticks,--Le Baton Militaire.
He turns up his nose at the city parade,
And the stay-at-home guards, for reception arrayed;
The “feather-bed knights,” as he calls them with sneers,
Who dare not to battle, like bold grenadiers;
Too mean their own guns and equipments to buy,
Rush out to the war-ground, and conquer or die,
In defence of the homes of the wealth-rolling Jews,
Who, a cent to contribute most calmly refuse.
He roars of great battles he never did see,--
How the “Tenth” were destroyed — how the rebels did flee--
And swears, that, if Wool makes a contraband free,
He will go (Le Baton will) where white people be.
He laughs at a wound, thoa he never has felt it,
And glories in blood, thoa he never has smelt it.
With a shrug of his shoulders that rustles his “bobs,”
He wonders, “what next from the Cabinet snobs?”
“Will Russell (the Cockney!) be thrown in the sea?”
“Will the princes of Bourbon both Brigadiers be?”
Le Baton most familiarly nicks the high names;
Says, “the old codger (Scott) is always up with his sprains;”
“Little Mac,” for McClellan, for Seward, says “Billy.”
Talks of “Johnnie Fremont,” and of “Jessie, his filly.”
And all of these things with a sodlier-like air,
With a swagger and swell and a saucer-eyed stare,
As becomes the great stick--Le Baton Militaire.
Macaulay gave glory to Hall of Navarre
With his oriflamme plume, as a signal afar,
For the thick of the scrimmage — the tide of the war;
But, bless you, 'twas nought to the one I exalt
In the praise of this hero, who never cries “Halt!”
“Nor” Charge! “for that matter, (for Marshal Baton
Doesn't command,) but lie still is the pride of my song.
He follows the progress of fleeting events,
Without stirring a peg in his country's defence.
He quotes you Hardee, twirling up his moustache,
And tells you how to smoke out the traitorous batch,
As easy as swallows are smoked from a thatch.
You never will see him in battle engaging,
But he's been (so he says) where 'twas very near raging.
You may see him, however, on every street,
With his epaulettes bright and uncommonly neat--
Ready dressed and prepared the invader to meet.
So glory at least, to whom glory is due,
And why not for him with the coat, brass, and blue?
Oh! why not for him, with the heart — not the hand--
To sweep the Secessionists out of the land?
Oh! why not for him with the brow-beating stare--
The Stick animated, with blood-thirsty air?
Why not for the stick” --Le Baton Militaire?