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John Marr and Other Poems by Herman Melville

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But they reasoned of fate at the flowing feast,
Nor stifled the fluent thought,
We sham, we shuffle while faith declines--
They were frank in the Age of the Antonines.

Orders and ranks they kept degree,
Few felt how the parvenu pines,
No law-maker took the lawless one's fee
In the Age of the Antonines!
Under law made will the world reposed
And the ruler's right confessed,
For the heavens elected the Emperor then,
The foremost of men the best.
Ah, might we read in America's signs
The Age restored of the Antonines.

HERBA SANTA

I
After long wars when comes release
Not olive wands proclaiming peace
Can import dearer share
Than stems of Herba Santa hazed
In autumn's Indian air.
Of moods they breathe that care disarm,
They pledge us lenitive and calm.

II
Shall code or creed a lure afford
To win all selves to Love's accord?
When Love ordained a supper divine
For the wide world of man,
What bickerings o'er his gracious wine!
Then strange new feuds began.

Effectual more in lowlier way,
Pacific Herb, thy sensuous plea
The bristling clans of Adam sway
At least to fellowship in thee!
Before thine altar tribal flags are furled,
Fain wouldst thou make one hearthstone of
the world.

III
To scythe, to sceptre, pen and hod--
Yea, sodden laborers dumb;
To brains overplied, to feet that plod,
In solace of the _Truce of God_
The Calumet has come!

IV
Ah for the world ere Raleigh's find
Never that knew this suasive balm
That helps when Gilead's fails to heal,
Helps by an interserted charm.

Insinuous thou that through the nerve
Windest the soul, and so canst win
Some from repinings, some from sin,
The Church's aim thou dost subserve.

The ruffled fag fordone with care
And brooding, God would ease this pain:
Him soothest thou and smoothest down
Till some content return again.

Even ruffians feel thy influence breed
Saint Martin's summer in the mind,
They feel this last evangel plead,
As did the first, apart from creed,
Be peaceful, man--be kind!

V
Rejected once on higher plain,
O Love supreme, to come again
Can this be thine?
Again to come, and win us too
In likeness of a weed
That as a god didst vainly woo,
As man more vainly bleed?

VI
Forbear, my soul! and in thine Eastern
chamber
Rehearse the dream that brings the long
release:
Through jasmine sweet and talismanic amber
Inhaling Herba Santa in the passive Pipe
of Peace.

OFF CAPE COLONNA

Aloof they crown the foreland lone,
From aloft they loftier rise--
Fair columns, in the aureole rolled
From sunned Greek seas and skies.
They wax, sublimed to fancy's view,
A god-like group against the blue.

Over much like gods! Serene they saw
The wolf-waves board the deck,
And headlong hull of Falconer,
And many a deadlier wreck.

THE APPARITION
_The Parthenon uplifted on its rock first
challenging the view on the approach to Athens._

Abrupt the supernatural Cross,
Vivid in startled air,
Smote the Emperor Constantine
And turned his soul's allegiance there.

With other power appealing down,
Trophy of Adam's best!
If cynic minds you scarce convert,
You try them, shake them, or molest.

Diogenes, that honest heart,
Lived ere your date began;
Thee had he seen, he might have swerved
In mood nor barked so much at Man.

L'ENVOI
_The Return of the Sire de Nesle._
A.D. 16

My towers at last! These rovings end,
Their thirst is slaked in larger dearth:
The yearning infinite recoils,
For terrible is earth.

Kaf thrusts his snouted crags through fog:
Araxes swells beyond his span,
And knowledge poured by pilgrimage
Overflows the banks of man.

But thou, my stay, thy lasting love
One lonely good, let this but be!
Weary to view the wide world's swarm,
But blest to fold but thee.

SUPPLEMENT

Were I fastidiously anxious for the symmetry of this book, it would
close with the notes. But the times are such that patriotism--not free
from solicitude--urges a claim overriding all literary scruples.

It is more than a year since the memorable surrender, but events have
not yet rounded themselves into completion. Not justly can we complain
of this. There has been an upheaval affecting the basis of things; to
altered circumstances complicated adaptations are to be made; there are
difficulties great and novel. But is Reason still waiting for Passion
to spend itself? We have sung of the soldiers and sailors, but who
shall hymn the politicians?

In view of the infinite desirableness of Re-establishment, and
considering that, so far as feeling is concerned, it depends not mainly
on the temper in which the South regards the North, but rather
conversely; one who never was a blind adherent feels constrained to
submit some thoughts, counting on the indulgence of his countrymen.

And, first, it may be said that, if among the feelings and opinions
growing immediately out of a great civil convulsion, there are any
which time shall modify or do away, they are presumably those of a less
temperate and charitable cast.

There seems no reason why patriotism and narrowness should go together,
or why intellectual impartiality should be confounded with political
trimming, or why serviceable truth should keep cloistered because not
partisan. Yet the work of Reconstruction, if admitted to be feasible at
all, demands little but common sense and Christian charity. Little but
these? These are much.

Some of us are concerned because as yet the South shows no penitence.
But what exactly do we mean by this? Since down to the close of the war
she never confessed any for braving it, the only penitence now left her
is that which springs solely from the sense of discomfiture; and since
this evidently would be a contrition hypocritical, it would be unworthy
in us to demand it. Certain it is that penitence, in the sense of
voluntary humiliation, will never be displayed. Nor does this afford
just ground for unreserved condemnation. It is enough, for all
practical purposes, if the South have been taught by the terrors of
civil war to feel that Secession, like Slavery, is against Destiny;
that both now lie buried in one grave; that her fate is linked with
ours; and that together we comprise the Nation.

The clouds of heroes who battled for the Union it is needless to
eulogize here. But how of the soldiers on the other side? And when of a
free community we name the soldiers, we thereby name the people. It was
in subserviency to the slave-interest that Secession was plotted; but
it was under the plea, plausibly urged, that certain inestimable rights
guaranteed by the Constitution were directly menaced, that the people
of the South were cajoled into revolution. Through the arts of the
conspirators and the perversity of fortune, the most sensitive love of
liberty was entrapped into the support of a war whose implied end was
the erecting in our advanced century of an Anglo-American empire based
upon the systematic degradation of man.

Spite this clinging reproach, however, signal military virtues and
achievements have conferred upon the Confederate arms historic fame,
and upon certain of the commanders a renown extending beyond the
sea--a renown which we of the North could not suppress, even if we
would. In personal character, also, not a few of the military leaders
of the South enforce forbearance; the memory of others the North
refrains from disparaging; and some, with more or less of reluctance,
she can respect. Posterity, sympathizing with our convictions, but
removed from our passions, may perhaps go farther here. If George IV
could, out of the graceful instinct of a gentleman, raise an honorable
monument in the great fane of Christendom over the remains of the enemy
of his dynasty, Charles Edward, the invader of England and victor in
the rout of Preston Pans--upon whose head the king's ancestor but one
reign removed had set a price--is it probable that the granchildren of
General Grant will pursue with rancor, or slur by sour neglect, the
memory of Stonewall Jackson?

But the South herself is not wanting in recent histories and
biographies which record the deeds of her chieftains--writings freely
published at the North by loyal houses, widely read here, and with a
deep though saddened interest. By students of the war such works are
hailed as welcome accessories, and tending to the completeness of the
record.

Supposing a happy issue out of present perplexities, then, in the
generation next to come, Southerners there will be yielding allegiance
to the Union, feeling all their interests bound up in it, and yet
cherishing unrebuked that kind of feeling for the memory of the
soldiers of the fallen Confederacy that Burns, Scott, and the Ettrick
Shepherd felt for the memory of the gallant clansmen ruined through
their fidelity to the Stuarts--a feeling whose passion was tempered by
the poetry imbuing it, and which in no wise affected their loyalty to
the Georges, and which, it may be added, indirectly contributed
excellent things to literature. But, setting this view aside,
dishonorable would it be in the South were she willing to abandon to
shame the memory of brave men who with signal personal
disinterestedness warred in her behalf, though from motives, as we
believe, so deplorably astray.

Patriotism is not baseness, neither is it inhumanity. The mourners who
this summer bear flowers to the mounds of the Virginian and Georgian
dead are, in their domestic bereavement and proud affection, as sacred
in the eye of Heaven as are those who go with similar offerings of
tender grief and love into the cemeteries of our Northern martyrs. And
yet, in one aspect, how needless to point the contrast.

Cherishing such sentiments, it will hardly occasion surprise that, in
looking over the battle-pieces in the foregoing collection, I have been
tempted to withdraw or modify some of them, fearful lest in presenting,
though but dramatically and by way of poetic record, the passions and
epithets of civil war, I might be contributing to a bitterness which
every sensible American must wish at an end. So, too, with the emotion
of victory as reproduced on some pages, and particularly toward the
close. It should not be construed into an exultation misapplied--an
exultation as ungenerous as unwise, and made to minister, however
indirectly, to that kind of censoriousness too apt to be produced in
certain natures by success after trying reverses. Zeal is not of
necessity religion, neither is it always of the same essence with
poetry or patriotism.

There are excesses which marked the conflict, most of which are perhaps
inseparable from a civil strife so intense and prolonged, and involving
warfare in some border countries new and imperfectly civilized.
Barbarities also there were, for which the Southern people collectively
can hardly be held responsible, though perpetrated by ruffians in their
name. But surely other qualities--exalted ones--courage and fortitude
matchless, were likewise displayed, and largely; and justly may these
be held the characteristic traits, and not the former.

In this view, what Northern writer, however patriotic, but must revolt
from acting on paper a part any way akin to that of the live dog to the
dead lion; and yet it is right to rejoice for our triumphs, so far as
it may justly imply an advance for our whole country and for humanity.

Let it be held no reproach to any one that he pleads for reasonable
consideration for our late enemies, now stricken down and unavoidably
debarred, for the time, from speaking through authorized agencies for
themselves. Nothing has been urged here in the foolish hope of
conciliating those men--few in number, we trust--who have resolved
never to be reconciled to the Union. On such hearts everything is
thrown away except it be religious commiseration, and the sincerest.
Yet let them call to mind that unhappy Secessionist, not a military
man, who with impious alacrity fired the first shot of the Civil War at
Sumter, and a little more than four years afterward fired the last one
into his heart at Richmond.

Noble was the gesture into which patriotic passion surprised the people
in a utilitarian time and country; yet the glory of the war falls short
of its pathos--a pathos which now at last ought to disarm all
animosity.

How many and earnest thoughts still rise, and how hard to repress them.
We feel what past years have been, and years, unretarded years, shall
come. May we all have moderation; may we all show candor. Though,
perhaps, nothing could ultimately have averted the strife, and though
to treat of human actions is to deal wholly with second causes,
nevertheless, let us not cover up or try to extenuate what, humanly
speaking, is the truth--namely, that those unfraternal denunciations,
continued through years, and which at last inflamed to deeds that ended
in bloodshed, were reciprocal; and that, had the preponderating
strength and the prospect of its unlimited increase lain on the other
side, on ours might have lain those actions which now in our late
opponents we stigmatize under the name of Rebellion. As frankly let us
own--what it would be unbecoming to parade were foreigners concerned--
that our triumph was won not more by skill and bravery than by superior
resources and crushing numbers; that it was a triumph, too, over a
people for years politically misled by designing men, and also by some
honestly-erring men, who from their position could not have been
otherwise than broadly influential; a people who, though, indeed, they
sought to perpetuate the curse of slavery, and even extend it, were not
the authors of it, but (less fortunate, not less righteous than we),
were the fated inheritors; a people who, having a like origin with
ourselves, share essentially in whatever worthy qualities we may
possess. No one can add to the lasting reproach which hopeless defeat
has now cast upon Secession by withholding the recognition of these
verities.

Surely we ought to take it to heart that that kind of pacification,
based upon principles operating equally all over the land, which lovers
of their country yearn for, and which our arms, though signally
triumphant, did not bring about, and which lawmaking, however anxious,
or energetic, or repressive, never by itself can achieve, may yet be
largely aided by generosity of sentiment public and private. Some
revisionary legislation and adaptive is indispensable; but with this
should harmoniously work another kind of prudence, not unallied with
entire magnanimity. Benevolence and policy--Christianity and
Machiavelli--dissuade from penal severities toward the subdued.
Abstinence here is as obligatory as considerate care for our
unfortunate fellowmen late in bonds, and, if observed, would equally
prove to be wise forecast. The great qualities of the South, those
attested in the War, we can perilously alienate, or we may make them
nationally available at need.

The blacks, in their infant pupilage to freedom, appeal to the
sympathies of every humane mind. The paternal guardianship which for
the interval government exercises over them was prompted equally by
duty and benevolence. Yet such kindliness should not be allowed to
exclude kindliness to communities who stand nearer to us in nature. For
the future of the freed slaves we may well be concerned; but the future
of the whole country, involving the future of the blacks, urges a
paramount claim upon our anxiety. Effective benignity, like the Nile,
is not narrow in its bounty, and true policy is always broad. To be
sure, it is vain to seek to glide, with moulded words, over the
difficulties of the situation. And for them who are neither partisans,
nor enthusiasts, nor theorists, nor cynics, there are some doubts not
readily to be solved. And there are fears. Why is not the cessation of
war now at length attended with the settled calm of peace? Wherefore in
a clear sky do we still turn our eyes toward the South as the
Neapolitan, months after the eruption, turns his toward Vesuvius? Do we
dread lest the repose may be deceptive? In the recent convulsion has
the crater but shifted Let us revere that sacred uncertainty which
forever impends over men and nations. Those of us who always abhorred
slavery as an atheistical iniquity, gladly we join in the exulting
chorus of humanity over its downfall. But we should remember that
emancipation was accomplished not by deliberate legislation; only
through agonized violence could so mighty a result be effected. In our
natural solicitude to confirm the benefit of liberty to the blacks, let
us forbear from measures of dubious constitutional rightfulness toward
our white countrymen--measures of a nature to provoke, among other of
the last evils, exterminating hatred of race toward race. In
imagination let us place ourselves in the unprecedented position of the
Southerners--their position as regards the millions of ignorant
manumitted slaves in their midst, for whom some of us now claim the
suffrage. Let us be Christians toward our fellow-whites, as well as
philanthropists toward the blacks, our fellow-men. In all things, and
toward all, we are enjoined to do as we would be done by. Nor should we
forget that benevolent desires, after passing a certain point, can not
undertake their own fulfillment without incurring the risk of evils
beyond those sought to be remedied. Something may well be left to the
graduated care of future legislation, and to heaven. In one point of
view the co-existence of the two races in the South, whether the negro
be bond or free, seems (even as it did to Abraham Lincoln) a grave
evil. Emancipation has ridded the country of the reproach, but not
wholly of the calamity. Especially in the present transition period for
both races in the South, more or less of trouble may not unreasonably
be anticipated; but let us not hereafter be too swift to charge the
blame exclusively in any one quarter. With certain evils men must be
more or less patient. Our institutions have a potent digestion, and may
in time convert and assimilate to good all elements thrown in, however
originally alien.

But, so far as immediate measures looking toward permanent Re-
establishment are concerned, no consideration should tempt us to
pervert the national victory into oppression for the vanquished. Should
plausible promise of eventual good, or a deceptive or spurious sense of
duty, lead us to essay this, count we must on serious consequences, not
the least of which would be divisions among the Northern adherents of
the Union. Assuredly, if any honest Catos there be who thus far have
gone with us, no longer will they do so, but oppose us, and as
resolutely as hitherto they have supported. But this path of thought
leads toward those waters of bitterness from which one can only turn
aside and be silent.

But supposing Re-establishment so far advanced that the Southern seats
in Congress are occupied, and by men qualified in accordance with those
cardinal principles of representative government which hitherto have
prevailed in the land--what then? Why, the Congressmen elected by the
people of the South will--represent the people of the South. This may
seem a flat conclusion; but, in view of the last five years, may there
not be latent significance in it? What will be the temper of those
Southern members? and, confronted by them, what will be the mood of our
own representatives? In private life true reconciliation seldom follows
a violent quarrel; but, if subsequent intercourse be unavoidable, nice
observances and mutual are indispensable to the prevention of a new
rupture. Amity itself can only be maintained by reciprocal respect, and
true friends are punctilious equals. On the floor of Congress North and
South are to come together after a passionate duel, in which the South,
though proving her valor, has been made to bite the dust. Upon
differences in debate shall acrimonious recriminations be exchanged?
Shall censorious superiority assumed by one section provoke defiant
self-assertion on the other? Shall Manassas and Chickamauga be retorted
for Chattanooga and Richmond? Under the supposition that the full
Congress will be composed of gentlemen, all this is impossible. Yet, if
otherwise, it needs no prophet of Israel to foretell the end. The
maintenance of Congressional decency in the future will rest mainly
with the North. Rightly will more forbearance be required from the
North than the South, for the North is victor.

But some there are who may deem these latter thoughts inapplicable, and
for this reason: Since the test-oath operatively excludes from Congress
all who in any way participated in Secession, therefore none but
Southerners wholly in harmony with the North are eligible to seats.
This is true for the time being. But the oath is alterable; and in the
wonted fluctuations of parties not improbably it will undergo
alteration, assuming such a form, perhaps, as not to bar the admission
into the National Legislature of men who represent the populations
lately in revolt. Such a result would involve no violation of the
principles of democratic government. Not readily can one perceive how
the political existence of the millions of late Secessionists can
permanently be ignored by this Republic. The years of the war tried our
devotion to the Union; the time of peace may test the sincerity of our
faith in democracy.

In no spirit of opposition, not by way of challenge, is anything here
thrown out. These thoughts are sincere ones; they seem natural--
inevitable. Here and there they must have suggested themselves to many
thoughtful patriots. And, if they be just thoughts, ere long they must
have that weight with the public which already they have had with
individuals.

For that heroic band--those children of the furnace who, in regions
like Texas and Tennessee, maintained their fidelity through terrible
trials--we of the North felt for them, and profoundly we honor them.
Yet passionate sympathy, with resentments so close as to be almost
domestic in their bitterness, would hardly in the present juncture tend
to discreet legislation. Were the Unionists and Secessionists but as
Guelphs and Ghibellines? If not, then far be it from a great nation now
to act in the spirit that animated a triumphant town-faction in the
Middle Ages. But crowding thoughts must at last be checked; and, in
times like the present, one who desires to be impartially just in the
expression of his views, moves as among sword-points presented on every
side.

Let us pray that the terrible historic tragedy of our time may not have
been enacted without instructing our whole beloved country through
terror and pity; and may fulfillment verify in the end those
expectations which kindle the bards of Progress and Humanity.

Poems From Battle Pieces

THE PORTENT
1859

Hanging from the beam,
Slowly swaying (such the law),
Gaunt the shadow on your green,
Shenandoah!
The cut is on the crown
(Lo, John Brown),
And the stabs shall heal no more.

Hidden in the cap
Is the anguish none can draw;
So your future veils its face,
Shenandoah!
But the streaming beard is shown
(Weird John Brown),
The meteor of the war.

FROM THE CONFLICT OF CONVICTIONS
1860-1

The Ancient of Days forever is young,
Forever the scheme of Nature thrives;
I know a wind in purpose strong--
It spins _against_ the way it drives.
What if the gulfs their slimed foundations
bare?
So deep must the stones be hurled
Whereon the throes of ages rear
The final empire and the happier world.

Power unanointed may come--
Dominion (unsought by the free)
And the Iron Dome,
Stronger for stress and strain,
Fling her huge shadow athwart the main;
But the Founders' dream shall flee.
Age after age has been,
(From man's changeless heart their way they
win);
And death be busy with all who strive--
Death, with silent negative.

_Yea and Nay--_
_Each hath his say;_
_But God He keeps the middle way._
_None was by_
_When He spread the sky;_
_Wisdom is vain, and prophecy._

THE MARCH INTO VIRGINIA
_Ending in the First Manassas_
July, 1861

Did all the lets and bars appear
To every just or larger end,
Whence should come the trust and cheer?
Youth must its ignorant impulse lend--
Age finds place in the rear.
All wars are boyish, and are fought by boys,
The champions and enthusiasts of the state:
Turbid ardors and vain joys
Not barrenly abate--
Stimulants to the power mature,
Preparatives of fate.

Who here forecasteth the event?
What heart but spurns at precedent
And warnings of the wise,
Contemned foreclosures of surprise?
The banners play, the bugles call,
The air is blue and prodigal.
No berrying party, pleasure-wooed,
No picnic party in the May,
Ever went less loth than they
Into that leafy neighborhood.
In Bacchic glee they file toward Fate,
Moloch's uninitiate;
Expectancy, and glad surmise
Of battle's unknown mysteries.
All they feel is this: 't is glory,
A rapture sharp, though transitory,
Yet lasting in belaureled story.
So they gayly go to fight,
Chatting left and laughing right.

But some who this blithe mood present,
As on in lightsome files they fare,
Shall die experienced ere three days are
spent--
Perish, enlightened by the vollied glare;
Or shame survive, and, like to adamant,
The throe of Second Manassas share.

BALL'S BLUFF
_A Reverie_
October, 1861

One noonday, at my window in the town,
I saw a sight--saddest that eyes can see--
Young soldiers marching lustily
Unto the wars,
With fifes, and flags in mottoed pageantry;
While all the porches, walks, and doors
Were rich with ladies cheering royally.

They moved like Juny morning on the wave,
Their hearts were fresh as clover in its prime
(It was the breezy summer time),
Life throbbed so strong,
How should they dream that Death in a rosy
clime
Would come to thin their shining throng?
Youth feels immortal, like the gods sublime.

Weeks passed; and at my window, leaving
bed,
By night I mused, of easeful sleep bereft,
On those 'brave boys (Ah War! thy theft);
Some marching feet
Found pause at last by cliffs Potomac cleft;
Wakeful I mused, while in the street
Far footfalls died away till none were left.

THE STONE FLEET
_An Old Sailor's Lament_
December, 1861

I have a feeling for those ships,
Each worn and ancient one,
With great bluff bows, and broad in the beam:
Ay, it was unkindly done.
But so they serve the Obsolete--
Even so, Stone Fleet!

You'll say I'm doting; do you think
I scudded round the Horn in one--
The _Tenedos,_ a glorious
Good old craft as ever run--
Sunk (how all unmeet!)
With the Old Stone Fleet.

An India ship of fame was she,
Spices and shawls and fans she bore;
A whaler when the wrinkles came--
Turned off! till, spent and poor,
Her bones were sold (escheat)!
Ah! Stone Fleet.

Four were erst patrician keels
(Names attest what families be),
The _Kensington,_ and _Richmond_ too,
_Leonidas,_ and _Lee_:
But now they have their seat
With the Old Stone Fleet.

To scuttle them--a pirate deed--
Sack them, and dismast;
They sunk so slow, they died so hard,
But gurgling dropped at last.
Their ghosts in gales repeat
_Woe's us, Stone Fleet!_

And all for naught. The waters pass--
Currents will have their way;
Nature is nobody's ally; 'tis well;
The harbor is bettered--will stay.
A failure, and complete,
Was your Old Stone Fleet.

THE TEMERAIRE

_Supposed to have been suggested to an Englishman of
the old order by the fight of the Monitor and Merrimac_

The gloomy hulls in armor grim,
Like clouds o'er moors have met,
And prove that oak, and iron, and man
Are tough in fibre yet.

But Splendors wane. The sea-fight yields
No front of old display;
The garniture, emblazonment,
And heraldry all decay.

Towering afar in parting light,
The fleets like Albion's forelands shine--
The full-sailed fleets, the shrouded show
Of Ships-of-the-Line.

The fighting _Temeraire,_
Built of a thousand trees,
Lunging out her lightnings,
And beetling o'er the seas--
O Ship, how brave and fair,
That fought so oft and well,

On open decks you manned the gun
Armorial.
What cheerings did you share,
Impulsive in the van,
When down upon leagued France and
Spain
We English ran--
The freshet at your bowsprit
Like the foam upon the can.
Bickering, your colors
Licked up the Spanish air,
You flapped with flames of battle-flags--
Your challenge, _Temeraire!_
The rear ones of our fleet
They yearned to share your place,
Still vying with the Victory
Throughout that earnest race--
The Victory, whose Admiral,
With orders nobly won,
Shone in the globe of the battle glow--
The angel in that sun.
Parallel in story,
Lo, the stately pair,
As late in grapple ranging,
The foe between them there--
When four great hulls lay tiered,
And the fiery tempest cleared,
And your prizes twain appeared,
_Temeraire!_

But Trafalgar is over now,
The quarter-deck undone;
The carved and castled navies fire
Their evening-gun.
O, Titan _Temeraire,_
Your stern-lights fade away;
Your bulwarks to the years must yield,
And heart-of-oak decay.
A pigmy steam-tug tows you,
Gigantic, to the shore--
Dismantled of your guns and spars,
And sweeping wings of war.
The rivets clinch the iron clads,
Men learn a deadlier lore;
But Fame has nailed your battle-flags--
Your ghost it sails before:
O, the navies old and oaken,
O, the _Temeraire_ no more!

A UTILITARIAN VIEW OF THE _MONITOR'S_ FIGHT

Plain be the phrase, yet apt the verse,
More ponderous than nimble;
For since grimed War here laid aside
His Orient pomp, 'twould ill befit
Overmuch to ply
The rhyme's barbaric cymbal.

Hail to victory without the gaud
Of glory; zeal that needs no fans
Of banners; plain mechanic power
Plied cogently in War now placed--
Where War belongs--
Among the trades and artisans.

Yet this was battle, and intense--
Beyond the strife of fleets heroic;
Deadlier, closer, calm 'mid storm;
No passion; all went on by crank,
Pivot, and screw,
And calculations of caloric.

Needless to dwell; the story's known.
The ringing of those plates on plates
Still ringeth round the world--
The clangor of that blacksmiths' fray.
The anvil-din
Resounds this message from the Fates:

War shall yet be, and to the end;
But war-paint shows the streaks of weather;
War yet shall be, but warriors
Are now but operatives; War's made
Less grand than Peace,
And a singe runs through lace and feather.

MALVERN HILL
July, 1862

Ye elms that wave on Malvern Hill
In prime of morn and May,
Recall ye how McClellan's men
Here stood at bay?
While deep within yon forest dim
Our rigid comrades lay--
Some with the cartridge in their mouth,
Others with fixed arms lifted South--
Invoking so--
The cypress glades? Ah wilds of woe!

The spires of Richmond, late beheld
Through rifts in musket-haze,
Were closed from view in clouds of dust
On leaf-walled ways,
Where streamed our wagons in caravan;
And the Seven Nights and Days
Of march and fast, retreat and fight,
Pinched our grimed faces to ghastly plight--
Does the elm wood
Recall the haggard beards of blood?

The battle-smoked flag, with stars eclipsed,
We followed (it never fell!)--
In silence husbanded our strength--
Received their yell;
Till on this slope we patient turned
With cannon ordered well;
Reverse we proved was not defeat;
But ah, the sod what thousands meet!--
Does Malvern Wood
Bethink itself, and muse and brood?
_We elms of Malvern Hill_
_Remember everything;_
_But sap the twig will fill:_
_Wag the world how it will,_
_Leaves must be green in Spring._

STONEWALL JACKSON
_Mortally wounded at Chancellorsville_
May, 1863

THE Man who fiercest charged in fight,
Whose sword and prayer were long--
Stonewall!
Even him who stoutly stood for Wrong,
How can we praise? Yet coming days
Shall not forget him with this song.

Dead is the Man whose Cause is dead,
Vainly he died and set his seal--
Stonewall!
Earnest in error, as we feel;
True to the thing he deemed was due,
True as John Brown or steel.

Relentlessly he routed us;
But _we_ relent, for he is low--
Stonewall!
Justly his fame we outlaw; so
We drop a tear on the bold Virginian's bier,
Because no wreath we owe.

THE HOUSE-TOP
July, 1863
_A Night Piece_

No sleep. The sultriness pervades the air
And binds the brain--a dense oppression, such
As tawny tigers feel in matted shades,
Vexing their blood and making apt for ravage.
Beneath the stars the roofy desert spreads
Vacant as Libya. All is hushed near by.
Yet fitfully from far breaks a mixed surf
Of muffled sound, the Atheist roar of riot.
Yonder, where parching Sirius set in drought,
Balefully glares red Arson--there--and
there.
The Town is taken by its rats--ship-rats
And rats of the wharves. All civil charms
And priestly spells which late held hearts in
awe--
Fear-bound, subjected to a better sway
Than sway of self; these like a dream dissolve,
And man rebounds whole aeons back in
nature.
Hail to the low dull rumble, dull and dead,
And ponderous drag that shakes the wall.
Wise Draco comes, deep in the midnight roll
Of black artillery; he comes, though late;
In code corroborating Calvin's creed
And cynic tyrannies of honest kings;
He comes, nor parlies; and the Town,
redeemed,
Gives thanks devout; nor, being thankful,
heeds
The grimy slur on the Republic's faith
implied,
Which holds that Man is naturally good,
And--more--is Nature's Roman, never to be
scourged.

CHATTANOOGA
November, 1863

A kindling impulse seized the host
Inspired by heaven's elastic air;
Their hearts outran their General's plan,
Though Grant commanded there--
Grant, who without reserve can dare;
And, "Well, go on and do your will,"
He said, and measured the mountain then:
So master-riders fling the rein--
But you must know your men.

On yester-morn in grayish mist,
Armies like ghosts on hills had fought,
And rolled from the cloud their thunders loud
The Cumberlands far had caught:
To-day the sunlit steeps are sought.
Grant stood on cliffs whence all was plain,
And smoked as one who feels no cares;
But mastered nervousness intense
Alone such calmness wears.

The summit-cannon plunge their flame
Sheer down the primal wall,
But up and up each linking troop
In stretching festoons crawl--
Nor fire a shot. Such men appall
The foe, though brave. He, from the brink,
Looks far along the breadth of slope,
And sees two miles of dark dots creep,
And knows they mean the cope.

He sees them creep. Yet here and there
Half hid 'mid leafless groves they go;
As men who ply through traceries high
Of turreted marbles show--
So dwindle these to eyes below.
But fronting shot and flanking shell
Sliver and rive the inwoven ways;
High tops of oaks and high hearts fall,
But never the climbing stays.

From right to left, from left to right
They roll the rallying cheer--
Vie with each other, brother with brother,
Who shall the first appear--
What color-bearer with colors clear
In sharp relief, like sky-drawn Grant,
Whose cigar must now be near the stump--
While in solicitude his back
Heaps slowly to a hump.

Near and more near; till now the flags
Run like a catching flame;
And one flares highest, to peril nighest--
_He_ means to make a name:
Salvos! they give him his fame.
The staff is caught, and next the rush,
And then the leap where death has led;
Flag answered flag along the crest,
And swarms of rebels fled.

But some who gained the envied Alp,
And--eager, ardent, earnest there--
Dropped into Death's wide-open arms,
Quelled on the wing like eagles struck in
air--
Forever they slumber young and fair,
The smile upon them as they died;
Their end attained, that end a height:
Life was to these a dream fulfilled,
And death a starry night.

ON THE PHOTOGRAPH OF A CORPS COMMANDER

Ay, man is manly. Here you see
The warrior-carriage of the head,
And brave dilation of the frame;
And lighting all, the soul that led
In Spottsylvania's charge to victory,
Which justifies his fame.

A cheering picture. It is good
To look upon a Chief like this,
In whom the spirit moulds the form.
Here favoring Nature, oft remiss,
With eagle mien expressive has endued
A man to kindle strains that warm.

Trace back his lineage, and his sires,
Yeoman or noble, you shall find
Enrolled with men of Agincourt,
Heroes who shared great Harry's mind.
Down to us come the knightly Norman fires,
And front the Templars bore.

Nothing can lift the heart of man
Like manhood in a fellow-man.
The thought of heaven's great King afar
But humbles us--too weak to scan;
But manly greatness men can span,
And feel the bonds that draw.

THE SWAMP ANGEL

There is a coal-black Angel
With a thick Afric lip,
And he dwells (like the hunted and harried)
In a swamp where the green frogs dip.
But his face is against a City
Which is over a bay of the sea,
And he breathes with a breath that is
blastment,
And dooms by a far decree.

By night there is fear in the City,
Through the darkness a star soareth on;
There's a scream that screams up to the zenith,
Then the poise of a meteor lone--
Lighting far the pale fright of the faces,
And downward the coming is seen;
Then the rush, and the burst, and the havoc,
And wails and shrieks between.

It comes like the thief in the gloaming;
It comes, and none may foretell
The place of the coming--the glaring;
They live in a sleepless spell
That wizens, and withers, and whitens;
It ages the young, and the bloom
Of the maiden is ashes of roses--
The Swamp Angel broods in his gloom.

Swift is his messengers' going,
But slowly he saps their halls,
As if by delay deluding.
They move from their crumbling walls
Farther and farther away;
But the Angel sends after and after,
By night with the flame of his ray--
By night with the voice of his screaming--
Sends after them, stone by stone,
And farther walls fall, farther portals,
And weed follows weed through the Town.

Is this the proud City? the scorner
Which never would yield the ground?
Which mocked at the coal-black Angel?
The cup of despair goes round.
Vainly he calls upon Michael
(The white man's seraph was he,)
For Michael has fled from his tower
To the Angel over the sea.
Who weeps for the woeful City
Let him weep for our guilty kind;
Who joys at her wild despairing--
Christ, the Forgiver, convert his mind.

SHERIDAN AT CEDAR CREEK
October, 1864

Shoe the steed with silver
That bore him to the fray,
When he heard the guns at dawning--
Miles away;
When he heard them calling, calling--
Mount! nor stay:
Quick, or all is lost;
They've surprised and stormed the post,
They push your routed host--
Gallop! retrieve the day.

House the horse in ermine--
For the foam-flake blew
White through the red October;
He thundered into view;
They cheered him in the looming.
Horseman and horse they knew.
The turn of the tide began,
The rally of bugles ran,
He swung his hat in the van;
The electric hoof-spark flew.

Wreathe the steed and lead him--
For the charge he led
Touched and turned the cypress
Into amaranths for the head
Of Philip, king of riders,
Who raised them from the dead.
The camp (at dawning lost),
By eve, recovered--forced,
Rang with laughter of the host
At belated Early fled.

Shroud the horse in sable--
For the mounds they heap!
There is firing in the Valley,
And yet no strife they keep;
It is the parting volley,
It is the pathos deep.
There is glory for the brave
Who lead, and nobly save,
But no knowledge in the grave
Where the nameless followers sleep.

IN THE PRISON PEN
1864

Listless he eyes the palisades
And sentries in the glare;
'Tis barren as a pelican-beach
But his world is ended there.

Nothing to do; and vacant hands
Bring on the idiot-pain;
He tries to think--to recollect,
But the blur is on his brain.

Around him swarm the plaining ghosts
Like those on Virgil's shore--
A wilderness of faces dim,
And pale ones gashed and hoar.

A smiting sun. No shed, no tree;
He totters to his lair--
A den that sick hands dug in earth
Ere famine wasted there,

Or, dropping in his place, he swoons,
Walled in by throngs that press,
Till forth from the throngs they bear
him dead--
Dead in his meagreness.

THE COLLEGE COLONEL

He rides at their head;
A crutch by his saddle just slants in view,
One slung arm is in splints, you see,
Yet he guides his strong steed--how
coldly too.

He brings his regiment home--
Not as they filed two years before,
But a remnant half-tattered, and battered,
and worn,
Like castaway sailors, who--stunned
By the surf's loud roar,
Their mates dragged back and seen no
more--
Again and again breast the surge,
And at last crawl, spent, to shore.

A still rigidity and pale--
An Indian aloofness lones his brow;
He has lived a thousand years
Compressed in battle's pains and prayers,
Marches and watches slow.

There are welcoming shouts, and flags;
Old men off hat to the Boy,
Wreaths from gay balconies fall at his feet,
But to _him_--there comes alloy.

It is not that a leg is lost,
It is not that an arm is maimed,
It is not that the fever has racked--
Self he has long disclaimed.

But all through the Seven Days' Fight,
And deep in the Wilderness grim,
And in the field-hospital tent,
And Petersburg crater, and dim
Lean brooding in Libby, there came--
Ah heaven!--what _truth_ to him.

THE MARTYR
_Indicative of the passion of the people on the
15th of April, 1865_

Goon Friday was the day
Of the prodigy and crime,
When they killed him in his pity,
When they killed him in his prime
Of clemency and calm--
When with yearning he was filled
To redeem the evil-willed,
And, though conqueror, be kind;
But they killed him in his kindness,
In their madness and their blindness,
And they killed him from behind.

There is sobbing of the strong,
And a pall upon the land;
But the People in their weeping
Bare the iron hand;
Beware the People weeping
When they bare the iron hand.

He lieth in his blood--
The father in his face;
They have killed him, the Forgiver--
The Avenger takes his place,
The Avenger wisely stern,
Who in righteousness shall do
What the heavens call him to,
And the parricides remand;
For they killed him in his kindness,
In their madness and their blindness,
And his blood is on their hand.

There is sobbing of the strong,
And a pall upon the land;
But the People in their weeping
Bare the iron hand:
Beware the People weeping
When they bare the iron hand.

REBEL COLOR-BEARERS AT SHILOH
_A plea against the vindictive cry raised by civilians
shortly after the surrender at Appomattox_

The color-bearers facing death
White in the whirling sulphurous wreath,
Stand boldly out before the line;
Right and left their glances go,
Proud of each other, glorying in their show;
Their battle-flags about them blow,
And fold them as in flame divine:
Such living robes are only seen
Round martyrs burning on the green--
And martyrs for the Wrong have been.

Perish their Cause! but mark the men--
Mark the planted statues, then
Draw trigger on them if you can.

The leader of a patriot-band
Even so could view rebels who so could stand;
And this when peril pressed him sore,
Left aidless in the shivered front of war--
Skulkers behind, defiant foes before,
And fighting with a broken brand.
The challenge in that courage rare--
Courage defenseless, proudly bare--
Never could tempt him; he could dare
Strike up the leveled rifle there.

Sunday at Shiloh, and the day
When Stonewall charged--McClellan's
crimson May,
And Chickamauga's wave of death,
And of the Wilderness the cypress wreath--
All these have passed away.
The life in the veins of Treason lags,
Her daring color-bearers drop their flags,
And yield. _Now_ shall we fire?
Can poor spite be?
Shall nobleness in victory less aspire
Than in reverse? Spare Spleen her ire,
And think how Grant met Lee.

AURORA BOREALIS
_Commemorative of the Dissolution of armies at the Peace_
May, 1865

What power disbands the Northern Lights
After their steely play?
The lonely watcher feels an awe
Of Nature's sway,
As when appearing,
He marked their flashed uprearing
In the cold gloom--
Retreatings and advancings,
(Like dallyings of doom),
Transitions and enhancings,
And bloody ray.

The phantom-host has faded quite,
Splendor and Terror gone
Portent or promise--and gives way
To pale, meek Dawn;
The coming, going,
Alike in wonder showing--
Alike the God,
Decreeing and commanding
The million blades that glowed,
The muster and disbanding--
Midnight and Morn.

THE RELEASED REBEL PRISONER
June, 1865

Armies he's seen--the herds of war,
But never such swarms of men
As now in the Nineveh of the North--
How mad the Rebellion then!

And yet but dimly he divines
The depth of that deceit,
And superstitution of vast pride
Humbled to such defeat.

Seductive shone the Chiefs in arms--
His steel the nearest magnet drew;
Wreathed with its kind, the Gulf-weed drives--
'Tis Nature's wrong they rue.

His face is hidden in his beard,
But his heart peers out at eye--
And such a heart! like a mountain-pool
Where no man passes by.

He thinks of Hill--a brave soul gone;
And Ashby dead in pale disdain;
And Stuart with the Rupert-plume,
Whose blue eye never shall laugh again.

He hears the drum; he sees our boys
From his wasted fields return;
Ladies feast them on strawberries,
And even to kiss them yearn.

He marks them bronzed, in soldier-trim,
The rifle proudly borne;
They bear it for an heirloom home,
And he--disarmed--jail-worn.

Home, home--his heart is full of it;
But home he never shall see,
Even should he stand upon the spot:
'Tis gone!--where his brothers be.

The cypress-moss from tree to tree
Hangs in his Southern land;
As weird, from thought to thought of his
Run memories hand in hand.

And so he lingers--lingers on
In the City of the Foe--
His cousins and his countrymen
Who see him listless go.

"FORMERLY A SLAVE"
_An idealized Portrait, by E. Vedder, in the Spring
Exhibition of the National Academy, 1865_

The sufferance of her race is shown,
And retrospect of life,
Which now too late deliverance dawns upon;
Yet is she not at strife.

Her children's children they shall know
The good withheld from her;
And so her reverie takes prophetic cheer--
In spirit she sees the stir.

Far down the depth of thousand years,
And marks the revel shine;
Her dusky face is lit with sober light,
Sibylline, yet benign.

ON THE SLAIN COLLEGIANS

Youth is the time when hearts are large,
And stirring wars
Appeal to the spirit which appeals in turn
To the blade it draws.
If woman incite, and duty show
(Though made the mask of Cain),
Or whether it be Truth's sacred cause,
Who can aloof remain
That shares youth's ardor, uncooled by the
snow
Of wisdom or sordid gain?

The liberal arts and nurture sweet
Which give his gentleness to man--
Train him to honor, lend him grace
Through bright examples meet--
That culture which makes never wan
With underminings deep, but holds
The surface still, its fitting place,
And so gives sunniness to the face
And bravery to the heart; what troops
Of generous boys in happiness thus bred--
Saturnians through life's Tempe led,
Went from the North and came from the
South,
With golden mottoes in the mouth,
To lie down midway on a bloody bed.

Woe for the homes of the North,
And woe for the seats of the South:
All who felt life's spring in prime,
And were swept by the wind of their place and
time--
All lavish hearts, on whichever side,
Of birth urbane or courage high,
Armed them for the stirring wars--
Armed them--some to die.
Apollo-like in pride.
Each would slay his Python--caught
The maxims in his temple taught--
Aflame with sympathies whose blaze
Perforce enwrapped him--social laws,
Friendship and kin, and by-gone days--
Vows, kisses--every heart unmoors,
And launches into the seas of wars.
What could they else--North or South?
Each went forth with blessings given
By priests and mothers in the name of Heaven;
And honor in both was chief.
Warred one for Right, and one for Wrong?
So be it; but they both were young--
Each grape to his cluster clung,
All their elegies are sung.
The anguish of maternal hearts
Must search for balm divine;
But well the striplings bore their fated parts
(The heavens all parts assign)--
Never felt life's care or cloy.
Each bloomed and died an unabated Boy;
Nor dreamed what death was--thought it mere
Sliding into some vernal sphere.
They knew the joy, but leaped the grief,
Like plants that flower ere comes the leaf--
Which storms lay low in kindly doom,
And kill them in their flush of bloom.

AMERICA

I
Where the wings of a sunny Dome expand
I saw a Banner in gladsome air--
Starry, like Berenice's Hair--
Afloat in broadened bravery there;
With undulating long-drawn flow,
As tolled Brazilian billows go
Voluminously o'er the Line.
The Land reposed in peace below;
The children in their glee
Were folded to the exulting heart
Of young Maternity.

II
Later, and it streamed in fight
When tempest mingled with the fray,
And over the spear-point of the shaft
I saw the ambiguous lightning play.
Valor with Valor strove, and died:
Fierce was Despair, and cruel was Pride;
And the lorn Mother speechless stood,
Pale at the fury of her brood.

III
Yet later, and the silk did wind
Her fair cold form;
Little availed the shining shroud,
Though ruddy in hue, to cheer or warm.
A watcher looked upon her low, and said--
She sleeps, but sleeps, she is not dead.
But in that sleeps contortion showed
The terror of the vision there--
A silent vision unavowed,
Revealing earth's foundation bare,
And Gorgon in her hidden place.
It was a thing of fear to see
So foul a dream upon so fair a face,
And the dreamer lying in that starry shroud.

IV
But from the trance she sudden broke--
The trance, or death into promoted life;
At her feet a shivered yoke,
And in her aspect turned to heaven
No trace of passion or of strife--
A clear calm look. It spake of pain,
But such as purifies from stain--
Sharp pangs that never come again--
And triumph repressed by knowledge meet,
Power dedicate, and hope grown wise,
And youth matured for age's seat--
Law on her brow and empire in her eyes.
So she, with graver air and lifted flag;
While the shadow, chased by light,
Fled along the far-drawn height,
And left her on the crag.

INSCRIPTION
_For Graves at Pea Ridge, Arkansas_

Let none misgive we died amiss
When here we strove in furious fight:
Furious it was; nathless was this
Better than tranquil plight,
And tame surrender of the Cause
Hallowed by hearts and by the laws.
We here who warred for Man and Right,
The choice of warring never laid with us.
There we were ruled by the traitor's choice.
Nor long we stood to trim and poise,
But marched and fell--victorious!

THE FORTITUDE OF THE NORTH
_Under the Disaster of the Second Manassas_

They take no shame for dark defeat
While prizing yet each victory won,
Who fight for the Right through all retreat,
Nor pause until their work is done.
The Cape-of-Storms is proof to every throe;
Vainly against that foreland beat
Wild winds aloft and wilder waves below:
The black cliffs gleam through rents in sleet
When the livid Antarctic storm-clouds glow.

THE MOUND BY THE LAKE

The grass shall never forget this grave.
When homeward footing it in the sun
After the weary ride by rail,
The stripling soldiers passed her door,
Wounded perchance, or wan and pale,
She left her household work undone--
Duly the wayside table spread,
With evergreens shaded, to regale
Each travel-spent and grateful one.
So warm her heart--childless--unwed,
Who like a mother comforted.

ON THE SLAIN AT CHICKAMAUGA

Happy are they and charmed in life
Who through long wars arrive unscarred
At peace. To such the wreath be given,
If they unfalteringly have striven--
In honor, as in limb, unmarred.
Let cheerful praise be rife,
And let them live their years at ease,
Musing on brothers who victorious died--
Loved mates whose memory shall ever please.

And yet mischance is honorable too--
Seeming defeat in conflict justified
Whose end to closing eyes is hid from view.
The will, that never can relent--
The aim, survivor of the bafflement,
Make this memorial due.

AN UNINSCRIBED MONUMENT
_On one of the Battle-fields of the Wilderness_

Silence and solitude may hint
(Whose home is in yon piney wood)
What I, though tableted, could never tell--
The din which here befell,
And striving of the multitude.
The iron cones and spheres of death
Set round me in their rust,
These, too, if just,
Shall speak with more than animated breath.
Thou who beholdest, if thy thought,
Not narrowed down to personal cheer,
Take in the import of the quiet here--
The after-quiet--the calm full fraught;
Thou too wilt silent stand--
Silent as I, and lonesome as the land.

ON THE GRAVE OF A YOUNG CAVALRY OFFICER
KILLED IN THE VALLEY OF VIRGINIA

Beauty and youth, with manners sweet, and
friends--
Gold, yet a mind not unenriched had he
Whom here low violets veil from eyes.
But all these gifts transcended be:
His happier fortune in this mound you see.

A REQUIEM
_For Soldiers lost in Ocean Transports_

When, after storms that woodlands rue,
To valleys comes atoning dawn,
The robins blithe their orchard-sports renew;
And meadow-larks, no more withdrawn
Caroling fly in the languid blue;
The while, from many a hid recess,
Alert to partake the blessedness,
The pouring mites their airy dance pursue.
So, after ocean's ghastly gales,
When laughing light of hoyden morning
breaks,
Every finny hider wakes--
From vaults profound swims up with
glittering scales;
Through the delightsome sea he sails,
With shoals of shining tiny things
Frolic on every wave that flings
Against the prow its showery spray;
All creatures joying in the morn,
Save them forever from joyance torn,
Whose bark was lost where now the
dolphins play;
Save them that by the fabled shore,
Down the pale stream are washed away,
Far to the reef of bones are borne;
And never revisits them the light,
Nor sight of long-sought land and pilot more;
Nor heed they now the lone bird's flight
Round the lone spar where mid-sea surges
pour.

COMMEMORATIVE OF A NAVAL VICTORY

Sailors there are of the gentlest breed,
Yet strong, like every goodly thing;
The discipline of arms refines,
And the wave gives tempering.
The damasked blade its beam can fling;
It lends the last grave grace:
The hawk, the hound, and sworded nobleman
In Titian's picture for a king,
Are of hunter or warrior race.

In social halls a favored guest
In years that follow victory won,
How sweet to feel your festal fame
In woman's glance instinctive thrown:
Repose is yours--your deed is known,
It musks the amber wine;
It lives, and sheds a light from storied days
Rich as October sunsets brown,
Which make the barren place to shine.

But seldom the laurel wreath is seen
Unmixed with pensive pansies dark;
There's a light and a shadow on every man
Who at last attains his lifted mark--
Nursing through night the ethereal spark.
Elate he never can be;
He feels that spirit which glad had hailed his
worth,
Sleep in oblivion.--The shark
Glides white through the phosphorus sea.

A MEDITATION

How often in the years that close,
When truce had stilled the sieging gun,
The soldiers, mounting on their works,
With mutual curious glance have run
From face to face along the fronting show,
And kinsman spied, or friend--even in a foe.

What thoughts conflicting then were shared,
While sacred tenderness perforce
Welled from the heart and wet the eye;
And something of a strange remorse
Rebelled against the sanctioned sin of blood,
And Christian wars of natural brotherhood.

Then stirred the god within the breast--
The witness that is man's at birth;
A deep misgiving undermined
Each plea and subterfuge of earth;
They felt in that rapt pause, with warning rife,
Horror and anguish for the civil strife.

Of North or South they reeked not then,
Warm passion cursed the cause of war:
Can Africa pay back this blood
Spilt on Potomac's shore?
Yet doubts, as pangs, were vain the strife
to stay,
And hands that fain had clasped again
could slay.

How frequent in the camp was seen
The herald from the hostile one,
A guest and frank companion there
When the proud formal talk was done;
The pipe of peace was smoked even 'mid the
war,
And fields in Mexico again fought o'er.

In Western battle long they lay
So near opposed in trench or pit,
That foeman unto foeman called
As men who screened in tavern sit:
"You bravely fight" each to the other said--
"Toss us a biscuit!" o'er the wall it sped.

And pale on those same slopes, a boy--
A stormer, bled in noon-day glare;
No aid the Blue-coats then could bring,
He cried to them who nearest were,
And out there came 'mid howling shot and shell
A daring foe who him befriended well.

Mark the great Captains on both sides,
The soldiers with the broad renown--
They all were messmates on the Hudson's
marge,
Beneath one roof they laid them down;
And, free from hate in many an after pass,
Strove as in school-boy rivalry of the class.

A darker side there is; but doubt
In Nature's charity hovers there:
If men for new agreement yearn,
Then old upbraiding best forbear:
"The South's the sinner!" Well, so let it be;
But shall the North sin worse, and stand the
Pharisee?

O, now that brave men yield the sword,
Mine be the manful soldier-view;
By how much more they boldly warred,
By so much more is mercy due:
When Vicksburg fell, and the moody files
marched out,
Silent the victors stood, scorning to raise a
shout.

Poems From Mardi

WE FISH

We fish, we fish, we merrily swim,
We care not for friend nor for foe.
Our fins are stout,
Our tails are out,
As through the seas we go.

Fish, Fish, we are fish with red gills;
Naught disturbs us, our blood is at zero:
We are buoyant because of our bags,
Being many, each fish is a hero.
We care not what is it, this life
That we follow, this phantom unknown;
To swim, it's exceedingly pleasant,--
So swim away, making a foam.
This strange looking thing by our side,
Not for safety, around it we flee:--
Its shadow's so shady, that's all,--
We only swim under its lee.
And as for the eels there above,
And as for the fowls of the air,
We care not for them nor their ways,
As we cheerily glide afar!

We fish, we fish, we merrily swim,
We care not for friend nor for foe:
Our fins are stout,
Our tails are out,
As through the seas we go.

INVOCATION

Ha, ha, gods and kings; fill high, one and all;
Drink, drink! shout and drink! mad respond to
the call!
Fill fast, and fill full; 'gainst the goblet ne'er
sin;
Quaff there, at high tide, to the uttermost
rim:--
Flood-tide, and soul-tide to the brim!

Who with wine in him fears? who thinks of his
cares?
Who sighs to be wise, when wine in him flares?
Water sinks down below, in currents full slow;
But wine mounts on high with its genial glow:--
Welling up, till the brain overflow!

As the spheres, with a roll, some fiery of soul,
Others golden, with music, revolve round the
pole;
So let our cups, radiant with many hued wines,
Round and round in groups circle, our Zodiac's
Signs:--
Round reeling, and ringing their chimes!

Then drink, gods and kings; wine merriment
brings;
It bounds through the veins; there, jubilant
sings.
Let it ebb, then, and flow; wine never grows
dim;
Drain down that bright tide at the foam beaded
rim:--
Fill up, every cup, to the brim!

DIRGE

We drop our dead in the sea,
The bottomless, bottomless sea;
Each bubble a hollow sigh,
As it sinks forever and aye.

We drop our dead in the sea,--
The dead reek not of aught;
We drop our dead in the sea,--
The sea ne'er gives it a thought.

Sink, sink, oh corpse, still sink,
Far down in the bottomless sea,
Where the unknown forms do prowl,
Down, down in the bottomless sea.

'Tis night above, and night all round,
And night will it be with thee;
As thou sinkest, and sinkest for aye,
Deeper down in the bottomless sea.

MARLENA

Far off in the sea is Marlena,
A land of shades and streams,
A land of many delights,
Dark and bold, thy shores, Marlena;
But green, and timorous, thy soft knolls,
Crouching behind the woodlands.
All shady thy hills; all gleaming thy springs,
Like eyes in the earth looking at you.
How charming thy haunts, Marlena!--
Oh, the waters that flow through Onimoo;
Oh, the leaves that rustle through Ponoo:
Oh, the roses that blossom in Tarma.
Come, and see the valley of Vina:
How sweet, how sweet, the Isles from Hina:
'Tis aye afternoon of the full, full moon,
And ever the season of fruit,
And ever the hour of flowers,
And never the time of rains and gales,
All in and about Marlena.
Soft sigh the boughs in the stilly air,
Soft lap the beach the billows there;
And in the woods or by the streams,
You needs must nod in the Land of Dreams.

PIPE SONG

Care is all stuff:--
Puff! Puff!
To puff is enough:--
Puff! Puff
More musky than snuff,
And warm is a puff:--
Puff! Puff
Here we sit mid our puffs,
Like old lords in their ruffs,
Snug as bears in their muffs:--
Puff! Puff
Then puff, puff, puff,
For care is all stuff,
Puffed off in a puff--
Puff! Puff!

SONG OF YOOMY

Departed the pride, and the glory of Mardi:
The vaunt of her isles sleeps deep in the sea,
That rolls o'er his corse with a hush,
His warriors bend over their spears,
His sisters gaze upward and mourn.
Weep, weep, for Adondo is dead!
The sun has gone down in a shower;
Buried in clouds the face of the moon;
Tears stand in the eyes of the starry skies,
And stand in the eyes of the flowers;
And streams of tears are the trickling brooks,
Coursing adown the mountains.--
Departed the pride, and the glory of Mardi:
The vaunt of her isles sleeps deep in the sea.
Fast falls the small rain on its bosom that
sobs,--
Not showers of rain, but the tears of Oro.

GOLD

We rovers bold,
To the land of Gold,
Over the bowling billows are gliding:
Eager to toil,
For the golden spoil,
And every hardship biding.
See! See!
Before our prows' resistless dashes
The gold-fish fly in golden flashes!
'Neath a sun of gold,
We rovers bold,
On the golden land are gaining;
And every night,
We steer aright,
By golden stars unwaning!
All fires burn a golden glare:
No locks so bright as golden hair!
All orange groves have golden gushings;
All mornings dawn with golden flushings!
In a shower of gold, say fables old,
A maiden was won by the god of gold!
In golden goblets wine is beaming:
On golden couches kings are dreaming!
The Golden Rule dries many tears!
The Golden Number rules the spheres!
Gold, gold it is, that sways the nations:
Gold! gold! the center of all rotations!

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