Oh, were you ne’er a schoolboy,
And did you never train,
And feel that swelling of the heart
You ne’er can feel again?
Did you never meet, far down the street,
With plumes and banners gay,
While the kettle, for the kettledrum,
Played your march, march away?
It seems to me but yesterday,
Nor scarce so long ago,
Since all our school their muskets took,
To charge the fearful foe.
Our muskets were of cedar wood,
With ramrods bright and new;
With bayonets forever set,
And painted barrels, too.
We charged upon a flock of geese,
And put them all to flight—
Except one sturdy gander
That thought to show us fight.
But, ah! we knew a thing or two;
Our captain wheeled the van;
We routed him, we scouted him,
Nor lost a single man!
Our captain was as brave a lad
As e’er commission bore;
And brightly shone his new tin sword;
A paper cap he wore.
He led us up the steep hillside,
Against the western wind,
While the cockerel plume that decked his head
Streamed bravely out behind.
We shouldered arms, we carried arms,
We charged the bayonet;
And woe unto the mullein stalk
That in our course we met!
At two o’clock the roll we called,
And till the close of day,
With fearless hearts, though tired limbs,
We fought the mimic fray,—
Till the supper bell, from out the dell,
Bade us march, march away.