previous next
[26] existence was made quite unpleasant in his own immediate neighborhood. If he had been a commissioned officer, his face was likely to appear in an illustrated paper, accompanied by the statement that he had “shown the white feather,” --another term for cowardice. A reference to any file of illustrated papers of those days will show a large number of such persons. Such gratuitous advertising by a generally loyal, though not always discreet press did some men gross injustice; for, as already intimated, many of the men thus publicly sketched and denounced were among the most worthy and loyal of citizens. A little later than the period of which I am treating, Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote the following poem, hitting off a certain limited class in the community:--

The sweet little man: dedicated to the stay-at-home Rangers.

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 sweet little 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, sweet little 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, sweet little man?

Bring him the buttonless 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 sweet little man!

Give him for escort a file of young misses,
Each of them armed with a deadly rattan;
They shall defend him from laughter and hisses,
Aimed by low boys at the sweet little man.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Oliver Wendell Holmes (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: