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17. the Sharpshooter's lament on the Banks of the Potomac.

“The sun-light is yellow and pleasant,
     What darkens your spirit, Jem True?”
“Ay, Sergeant, it's bright for the present,
     And I know it looks mean to be blue,
Squattina here, like a draggle-tailed pheasant--
     But what's a poor fellow to do?

”Nary shot since I left the “peraries,”
     And ‘listed in sarch oa big game--
It's a rule that must work by contraries,
     That inveigled me on till I came
To this ground, without even canaries
     Or chippies to warrant an aim.

”Misfortina comes crowdina misfortina,
     And between 'em old Jem is nigh beat,
For here comes the news of the sportina
     As has come to them chaps on the fleet--
And bless yer, they're greenies for courtina
     The shrews of grim death as they'll meet.

”Why, there isn't one cove in a dozen,
     For all they're stout as you'll see,
As distinguishes well 'twixt the buzzina
     Of a bullet and that of a bee,
And among 'em there's Billy, my cousin,
     He shakes “on a rest” like a flea.

”And Toby, though brave as a lion,
     His intentions his in'ards confound,
When to jerkina the trigger he's nigh on,
     The vartigo bobs him around,
And that bully old sinner, O'Ryan,
     He's cross-eyed and shoots at the ground.

”While here's the old boy as can jingle
     Any button as shines on a breast, [14]
With a pill as can operate single,
     At eight hundred yards and “no rest,”
He's left for his cusses to mingle,
     Like a eagle what's glued to his nest.

”'Twas only last night when on duty
     A sightina them pickets oa theirs,
That I drew a true bead on a “beauty,”
     With a greasy old coon on his ears--
“O beautiful varmint I I'll shoot ye,”
     I whispered aloud unawares.

” “No, you won't,” says my comrade, ole Dan'l,
     “The orders keep pickets from harm.”
”Well, I'll rip up them stripes of red flannel
     What so sarcily shine on his arm,“
I pleaded, but “No,” says old Dan'l,
     “The order's keep pickets from harm.”

”Sech orders my heart's disappointin,
     'Twasn't sech as inveigled me in
To clap my mark down to the writina
     The recruiter said glories would win.
Oh! when fellers is gathered for fightina,
     Say, why can't the scrimmage begin?

”Oh! I'm sick of this lazy black river,
     Where for ever we're likely to stay.
Why, the Capital's saved if it ever
     Will be — and it can't run away!
Can't we leave it a spell? are we never
     To sport in these diggins here — say?

”Must a cove as can ring up his twenty
     At twelve hundred yards on a “string,”
Get his hand out when varmints is plenty,
     Like a watch-works what hasn't no spring?
Must a screamer be mum when he's sent t'ye
     In voice for his sweetest to sing.

”I cares not for fierce adversaries,
     If for fightina we wasn't so slow--
O Sergeant! it's waitina that varies
     The misery that hangs on me so--
I longs for my darlina “peraries,”
     And that's why my feelings is low.

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