The Little Army

Edgar Albert Guest

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Little women, little men,
Childhood never comes again.
Live it gaily while you may;
Give your baby souls to play;
March to sound of stick and pan,
In your paper hats, and tramp
just as bravely as you can
To your pleasant little camp.
Wooden sword and wooden gun
Make a battle splendid fun.
Fine the victories you win
Dimpled cheek and dimpled chin.
Little women, little men,
Hearts are light when years are ten;
Eyes are bright and cheeks are red
When life's cares lie all ahead.
Drums make merry music when
They are leading children out;
Trumpet calls are cheerful then,
Glorious is the battle shout.
Little soldiers, single file,
Uniformed in grin and smile,
Conquer every foe they meet
Up and down the gentle street.
Little women, little men,
Would that youth could come again!
Would that I might fall in line
As a little boy of nine,
But with broomstick for a gun,
And with paper hat that I
Bravely wore back there for fun,
Never more may I defy
Foes that deep in ambush kneel--
Now my warfare's grim and real.
I that once was brave and bold,
Now am battered, bruised and old.
Little women, little men,
Planning to attack my den,
Little do you know the joy
That you give a worn-out boy
As he hears your gentle feet
Pitter-patting in the hall;
Gladly does he wait to meet
Conquest by a troop so small.
Dimpled cheek and dimpled chin,
You have but to smile to win.
Come and take him where he stays
Dreaming of his by-gone days.

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