The "Business End" of a Tough Customer
by Edwin Forbes
An Old Friend Made Up of Ears, Heels, and Throat
I sing of the mule, the army mule,
The butt of all jokes, but nobody’s fool;
A four-footed Solon, who knew his own mind,
And wisely kept part of his foresight behind.
A general guarding his forces from fear
By keeping a battery close to his rear;
A strategist keeping his plans under cover
By marching one way and fighting the other.
A tactician of whom we all will agree
That he taught the whole world -- including Hardee --
The science of meeting the battle’s fierce brunt
By swinging his rear quickly round to his front.
A musician of note who never was paid,
Though he led every charge of the Hard Tack Brigade.
A song-bird wearing his wings on his head,
A player of bones, when we thought he was dead;
The only recruit wearing Uncle Sam’s brand
Whose heels were drum-sticks, and his head a brass band.
[Coleman's Rural World, November 1892]