A bugler once tried to bugle “Tatoo.”
The bugle was old, but the bugler was new;
The troops were encamped in a wild sylvan glade,
And the echoes played tag with the discord it made.
The Colonel, a jolly olde Cavalry file,
Thought “Stables” was blowing; aroused with a smile,
Turned sleepily over, and murmured, “I guess
That bugler’s been drinking again, more or less.”
A veteran captain, who’d heard war’s alarm,
Sprang into his trousers and yelled out “To Arms.”
The sky-pilot, robed in pajamas of white,
Said, “Why’s that damn ‘Church Call’ a-blowing tonight?”
The medico, late from a man who had snakes,
Thinks “Sick Call” is blowing, and suddenly wakes,
And utters some swear words–I fear eight or ten–
And vows, he ‘lows Grady had got them again.
A shave tail lieutenant, just out of the point,
With chills in his gizzard, and aches in each joint,
Thinks “Mess Call” is blowing, and suddenly shoots
Full out of his blankets, and into his boots.
Top Sergeant rolled out, as a deluge slashed o’er,
And snatches up his blankets from out of the pour,
As a corporal near him thought “Fire Call” blew,
And would fain quench the blaze with a bucket or two.
Then a man just in from his quarterly spree,
Fell out of his blankets and cursed “Reveille”;
While a rook, just enlisted, with thoughts homeward bent,
Thought sure ’twas the “General” and pulled down his tent.
In the meantime the bugler that caused the uproar,
Went back to the guard-tent and bugled once more;
And tried, as he smoothed his curley red pate,
To think what had caused and kicked up the rumpus so great.
But the Regiment’s baby, a few tents away,
Snuggled close to mother, to sleepily say:
“What’s ‘at call, mother dear, a-sounding such noise,
I sh’d think they’d know better’n to wake little boys?”
But mother says, “Hush-a-bye, baby dear, do;
It’s just a bumb bugler a-blowing ‘Tatoo’ .”