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Patriotic pieces from the Great War/Squaring Ourselves


How many howled about Josephus every time a sailor man
Found an unresponsive barkeep when he went to rush the can!
How they growled about Josephus when commanders got the news
That the Admiral had orders for a dry and boozeless cruise!
Even such a wild teetotaller as the temperate T. R.
Shouted from a thousand housetops that Josephus went too far.
From all quarters of the Nation excellent, well-meaning folk,
Said in letters to the papers that Josephus was a joke.

Poets chuckled (we among them) in all sorts of jibing verse
When Josephus said that seamen might be brave, and still not curse.
Never on the rolling ocean had men navigated ships
Be the weather fine or dirty, without oaths upon their lips.
Even Dr. Lyman Abbott had to pause and breathe a prayer
For a man who said that sailors had not simply got to swear!
And there swept across the Nation, North and South and East and West
The unanimous conclusion that Josephus was a jest.

But when Congress started peering into things that had to do
With the arming of the warship and the comfort of the crew,
When grave statesmen asked him questions as to this and as to that
It was noticed that Josephus answered right straight off the bat.
For his drinkless, curseless navy—every unit—thanks to him,
From the dreadnoughts to the cutters, is in first-class fighting trim.
Now at last the pitying jesters (we among them) see a light,
For the fact has dawned upon us that Josephus is all right!