24. the wide-awake man. Dedicated to the stay-at-home black-capes.Now, while our soldiers are fighting our battles,
Each at his post to do all that he can,
Down among rebels and contraband chattels,
What are you doing, my wide-awake man?
All the brave boys under canvas are sleeping,
All of them pressing to march with the van,
Far from the home where their sweethearts are weeping,--
What are you waiting for, wide-awake man?
You, with the terrible warlike moustaches,
Fit for a colonel or chief of a clan,
You, with the waist made for sword-belts and sashes,
Where are your shoulder straps, wide-awake man?
Bring him the bottomless garment of woman!
Cover his face lest it freckle and tan;
Muster the apron-string guards on the Common,
That is the corps for the wide-awake man.
Give him for escort a file of young misses,
Each of them armed with a deadly ratan;
They shall defend him from laughter and hisses,
Aimed by low boys at the wide-awake man.
O, but the black-cape guards are the fellows!
Drilling each day since our troubles began--
“Handle your walking-stick!” “Shoulder umbrellas!”
That is the style for the wide-awake man.
Catch me confiding my person with strangers!
Think how the cowardly Bull Runners ran!
In the brigade of the stay-at-home black-capes
Marches my corps, says the wide-awake man.
Such was the stuff of the Malakoff takers,
Such were the soldiers that scaled the Redan;
Truculent housemaids and blood-thirsty Quakers
Brave not the wrath of the wide-awake man.
When the brown soldiers come back from the borders,
How will they look while his features they scan?
How will he feel when he gets marching orders,
Signed by his lady-love, wide-awake man?
 Now, then, nine cheers for the torch-bearing rangers!
Blow the great fish-horn and beat the big pan!
First in the field that is farthest from danger,
Take your white feather plume, wide-awake man.