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125 Works of Herman Melville

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The Piazza

Story type: Literature

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“With fairest flowers, Whilst summer lasts, and I live here, Fidele ” When I removed into the country, it was to occupy an old-fashioned farm-house, which had no piazza a deficiency the more regretted, because not only did I like piazzas, as somehow combining the coziness of in-doors with the freedom of out-doors, and it […]

Billy Budd, Foretopman

Story type: Literature

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In the time before steamships, or then more frequently than now, a stroller along the docks of any considerable seaport would occasionally have his attention arrested by a group of bronzed marines, man-of-war’s men or merchant sailors in holiday attire ashore on liberty. In certain instances they would flank, or, like a bodyguard, quite surround […]

Bartleby, the Scrivener

Story type: Literature

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I am a rather elderly man. The nature of my avocations, for the last thirty years, has brought me into more than ordinary contact with what would seem an interesting and somewhat singular set of men, of whom, as yet, nothing, that I know of, has ever been written—I mean, the law-copyists, or scriveners. I […]

I and My Chimney

Story type: Literature

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I and my chimney, two grey-headed old smokers, reside in the country. We are, I may say, old settlers here; particularly my old chimney, which settles more and more every day. Though I always say, I and My Chimney, as Cardinal Wolsey used to say, “I and My King,” yet this egotistic way of speaking, […]

The Lightning-Rod Man

Story type: Literature

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WHAT grand irregular thunder, thought I, standing on my hearth-stone among the Acroceraunian hills, as the scattered bolts boomed overhead, and crashed down among the valleys, every bolt followed by zigzag irradiations, and swift slants of sharp rain, which audibly rang, like a charge of spear-points, on my low shingled roof. I suppose, though, that […]

The Berg

Story type: Poetry

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A Dream I SAW a ship of martial build (Her standards set, her brave apparel on) Directed as by madness mere Against a stolid iceberg steer, Nor budge it, though the infatuate ship went down. The impact made huge ice-cubes fall Sullen, in tons that crashed the deck; But that one avalanche was all No […]

From “Rammon.” Through storms you reach them and from storms are free. Afar descried, the foremost drear in hue, But, nearer, green; and, on the marge, the sea Makes thunder low and mist of rainbowed dew. But, inland, where the sleep that folds the hills A dreamier sleep, the trance of God, instills– On uplands […]

The Tuft Of Kelp

Story type: Poetry

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All dripping in tangles green, Cast up by a lonely sea If purer for that, O Weed, Bitterer, too, are ye?

The Maldive Shark

Story type: Poetry

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About the Shark, phlegmatical one, Pale sot of the Maldive sea, The sleek little pilot-fish, azure and slim, How alert in attendance be. From his saw-pit of mouth, from his charnel of maw They have nothing of harm to dread, But liquidly glide on his ghastly flank Or before his Gorgonian head: Or lurk in […]

Pebbles

Story type: Poetry

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I Though the Clerk of the Weather insist, And lay down the weather-law, Pintado and gannet they wist That the winds blow whither they list In tempest or flaw. II Old are the creeds, but stale the schools, Revamped as the mode may veer, But Orm from the schools to the beaches strays And, finding […]

Fear me, virgin whosoever Taking pride from love exempt, Fear me, slighted. Never, never Brave me, nor my fury tempt: Downy wings, but wroth they beat Tempest even in reason’s seat.

To Ned

Story type: Poetry

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Where is the world we roved, Ned Bunn? Hollows thereof lay rich in shade By voyagers old inviolate thrown Ere Paul Pry cruised with Pelf and Trade. To us old lads some thoughts come home Who roamed a world young lads no more shall roam. Nor less the satiate year impends When, wearying of routine-resorts, […]

From “The Saya-y-Manto.” While now the Pole Star sinks from sight The Southern Cross it climbs the sky; But losing thee, my love, my light, O bride but for one bridal night, The loss no rising joys supply. Love, love, the Trade Winds urge abaft, And thee, from thee, they steadfast waft. By day the […]

The Aeolian Harp

Story type: Poetry

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At The Surf Inn List the harp in window wailing Stirred by fitful gales from sea: Shrieking up in mad crescendo– Dying down in plaintive key! Listen: less a strain ideal Than Ariel’s rendering of the Real. What that Real is, let hint A picture stamped in memory’s mint. Braced well up, with beams aslant, […]

Lonesome on earth’s loneliest deep, Sailor! who dost thy vigil keep– Off the Cape of Storms dost musing sweep Over monstrous waves that curl and comb; Of thee we think when here from brink We blow the mead in bubbling foam. Of thee we think, in a ring we link; To the shearer of ocean’s […]

Far Off-Shore

Story type: Poetry

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Look, the raft, a signal flying, Thin–a shred; None upon the lashed spars lying, Quick or dead. Cries the sea-fowl, hovering over, “Crew, the crew?” And the billow, reckless, rover, Sweeps anew!

Yon black man-of-war-hawk that wheels in the light O’er the black ship’s white sky-s’l, sunned cloud to the sight, Have we low-flyers wings to ascend to his height? No arrow can reach him; nor thought can attain To the placid supreme in the sweep of his reign.

The Figure-Head

Story type: Poetry

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The Charles-and-Emma seaward sped, (Named from the carven pair at prow,) He so smart, and a curly head, She tricked forth as a bride knows how: Pretty stem for the port, I trow! But iron-rust and alum-spray And chafing gear, and sun and dew Vexed this lad and lassie gay, Tears in their eyes, salt […]

Strenuous need that head-wind be From purposed voyage that drives at last The ship, sharp-braced and dogged still, Beating up against the blast. Brigs that figs for market gather, Homeward-bound upon the stretch, Encounter oft this uglier weather Yet in end their port they fetch. Mark yon craft from sunny Smyrna Glazed with ice in […]

Old Counsel

Story type: Poetry

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Of The Young Master of a Wrecked California Clipper Come out of the Golden Gate, Go round the Horn with streamers, Carry royals early and late; But, brother, be not over-elate– All hands save ship! has startled dreamers.

Jack Roy

Story type: Poetry

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Kept up by relays of generations young Never dies at halyards the blithe chorus sung; While in sands, sounds, and seas where the storm-petrels cry, Dropped mute around the globe, these halyard singers lie. Short-lived the clippers for racing-cups that run, And speeds in life’s career many a lavish mother’s-son. But thou, manly king o’ […]

The Haglets

Story type: Poetry

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By chapel bare, with walls sea-beat The lichened urns in wilds are lost About a carved memorial stone That shows, decayed and coral-mossed, A form recumbent, swords at feet, Trophies at head, and kelp for a winding-sheet. I invoke thy ghost, neglected fane, Washed by the waters’ long lament; I adjure the recumbent effigy To […]

Since as in night’s deck-watch ye show, Why, lads, so silent here to me, Your watchmate of times long ago? Once, for all the darkling sea, You your voices raised how clearly, Striking in when tempest sung; Hoisting up the storm-sail cheerly, Life is storm–let storm! you rung. Taking things as fated merely, Childlike though […]

Bridegroom Dick

Story type: Poetry

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1876 Sunning ourselves in October on a day Balmy as spring, though the year was in decay, I lading my pipe, she stirring her tea, My old woman she says to me, “Feel ye, old man, how the season mellows?” And why should I not, blessed heart alive, Here mellowing myself, past sixty-five, To think […]

Tom Deadlight

Story type: Poetry

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During a tempest encountered homeward-bound from the Mediterranean, a grizzled petty-officer, one of the two captains of the forecastle, dying at night in his hammock, swung in the sick-bay under the tiered gun-decks of the British Dreadnaught, 98, wandering in his mind, though with glimpses of sanity, and starting up at whiles, sings by snatches […]

The Land Of Love

Story type: Poetry

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Hail! voyagers, hail! Whence e’er ye come, where’er ye rove, No calmer strand, No sweeter land, Will e’er ye view, than the Land of Love! Hail! voyagers, hail! To these, our shores, soft gales invite: The palm plumes wave, The billows lave, And hither point fix’d stars of light! Hail! voyagers, hail! Think not our […]

Epilogue

Story type: Poetry

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If Luther’s day expand to Darwin’s year, Shall that exclude the hope–foreclose the fear? Unmoved by all the claims our times avow, The ancient Sphinx still keeps the porch of shade; And comes Despair, whom not her calm may cow, And coldly on that adamantine brow Scrawls undeterred his bitter pasquinade. But Faith (who from […]

Song Of Yoomy

Story type: Poetry

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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 […]

Gold

Story type: Poetry

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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, […]

Pipe Song

Story type: Poetry

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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 […]

Marlena

Story type: Poetry

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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, […]

Dirge

Story type: Poetry

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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, […]

We Fish

Story type: Poetry

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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 […]

Invocation

Story type: Poetry

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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 […]

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. […]

A Meditation

Story type: Poetry

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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 […]

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 […]

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.

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

America

Story type: Poetry

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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 […]

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 […]

Aurora Borealis

Story type: Poetry

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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. […]

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 Martyr

Story type: Poetry

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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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

In The Prison Pen

Story type: Poetry

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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– […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Swamp Angel

Story type: Poetry

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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 […]

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 […]

The House-Top

Story type: Poetry

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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 […]

Chattanooga

Story type: Poetry

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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. […]

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 […]

Malvern Hill

Story type: Poetry

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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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Stone Fleet

Story type: Poetry

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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 […]

The Temeraire

Story type: Poetry

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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 […]

L’envoi

Story type: Poetry

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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, […]

The Portent

Story type: Poetry

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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 […]

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 […]

The Apparition

Story type: Poetry

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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. […]

Off Cape Colonna

Story type: Poetry

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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 […]

While faith forecasts millennial years Spite Europe’s embattled lines, Back to the Past one glance be cast– The Age of the Antonines! O summit of fate, O zenith of time When a pagan gentleman reigned, And the olive was nailed to the inn of the world Nor the peace of the just was feigned. A […]

Herba Santa

Story type: Poetry

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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 […]

He toned the sprightly beam of morning With twilight meek of tender eve, Brightness interfused with softness, Light and shade did weave: And gave to candor equal place With mystery starred in open skies; And, floating all in sweetness, made Her fathomless mild eyes.

Wandering late by morning seas When my heart with pain was low– Hate the censor pelted me– Deject I saw my shadow go. In elf-caprice of bitter tone I too would pelt the pelted one: At my shadow I cast a stone. When lo, upon that sun-lit ground I saw the quivering phantom take The […]

The Enthusiast

Story type: Poetry

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“Though He slay me yet will I trust in Him.” Shall hearts that beat no base retreat In youth’s magnanimous years– Ignoble hold it, if discreet When interest tames to fears; Shall spirits that worship light Perfidious deem its sacred glow, Recant, and trudge where worldlings go, Conform and own them right? Shall Time with […]

In bed I muse on Tenier’s boors, Embrowned and beery losels all; A wakeful brain Elaborates pain: Within low doors the slugs of boors Laze and yawn and doze again. In dreams they doze, the drowsy boors, Their hazy hovel warm and small: Thought’s ampler bound But chill is found: Within low doors the basking […]

Art

Story type: Poetry

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In placid hours well-pleased we dream Of many a brave unbodied scheme. But form to lend, pulsed life create, What unlike things must meet and mate: A flame to melt–a wind to freeze; Sad patience–joyous energies; Humility–yet pride and scorn; Instinct and study; love and hate; Audacity–reverence. These must mate, And fuse with Jacob’s mystic […]

Lone Founts

Story type: Poetry

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Though fast youth’s glorious fable flies, View not the world with worldling’s eyes; Nor turn with weather of the time. Foreclose the coming of surprise: Stand where Posterity shall stand; Stand where the Ancients stood before, And, dipping in lone founts thy hand, Drink of the never-varying lore: Wise once, and wise thence evermore.

Monody

Story type: Poetry

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To have known him, to have loved him After loneness long; And then to be estranged in life, And neither in the wrong; And now for death to set his seal– Ease me, a little ease, my song! By wintry hills his hermit-mound The sheeted snow-drifts drape, And houseless there the snow-bird flits Beneath the […]

Persian, you rise Aflame from climes of sacrifice Where adulators sue, And prostrate man, with brow abased, Adheres to rites whose tenor traced All worship hitherto. Arch type of sway, Meetly your over-ruling ray You fling from Asia’s plain, Whence flashed the javelins abroad Of many a wild incursive horde Led by some shepherd Cain. […]

The Ravaged Villa

Story type: Poetry

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In shards the sylvan vases lie, Their links of dance undone, And brambles wither by thy brim, Choked fountain of the sun! The spider in the laurel spins, The weed exiles the flower: And, flung to kiln, Apollo’s bust Makes lime for Mammon’s tower.

The Night March

Story type: Poetry

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With banners furled and clarions mute, An army passes in the night; And beaming spears and helms salute The dark with bright. In silence deep the legions stream, With open ranks, in order true; Over boundless plains they stream and gleam– No chief in view! Afar, in twinkling distance lost, (So legends tell) he lonely […]

SKETCH FIRST. THE ISLES AT LARGE. –“That may not be, said then the ferryman, Least we unweeting hap to be fordonne; For those same islands seeming now and than, Are not firme land, nor any certein wonne, But stragling plots which to and fro do ronne In the wide waters; therefore are they hight The […]

Benito Cereno

Story type: Literature

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In the year 1799, Captain Amasa Delano, of Duxbury, in Massachusetts, commanding a large sealer and general trader, lay at anchor with a valuable cargo, in the harbor of St. Maria–a small, desert, uninhabited island toward the southern extremity of the long coast of Chili. There he had touched for water. On the second day, […]

The Bell-Tower

Story type: Literature

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In the south of Europe, nigh a once frescoed capital, now with dank mould cankering its bloom, central in a plain, stands what, at distance, seems the black mossed stump of some immeasurable pine, fallen, in forgotten days, with Anak and the Titan. As all along where the pine tree falls, its dissolution leaves a […]

(April, 1866.) Hard pressed by numbers in his strait, Rebellion’s soldier-chief no more contends– Feels that the hour is come of Fate, Lays down one sword, and widened warfare ends. The captain who fierce armies led Becomes a quiet seminary’s head– Poor as his privates, earns his bread. In studious cares and aims engrossed, Strives […]

The cavalry-camp lies on the slope Of what was late a vernal hill, But now like a pavement bare– An outpost in the perilous wilds Which ever are lone and still; But Mosby’s men are there– Of Mosby best beware. Great trees the troopers felled, and leaned In antlered walls about their tents; Strict watch […]

No trophy this–a Stone unhewn, And stands where here the field immures The nameless brave whose palms are won. Outcast they sleep; yet fame is nigh– Pure fame of deeds, not doers; Nor deeds of men who bleeding die In cheer of hymns that round them float: In happy dreams such close the eye. But […]

Presentation to the Authorities, by Privates, of Colors captured in Battles ending in the Surrender of Lee. These flags of armies overthrown– Flags fallen beneath the sovereign one In end foredoomed which closes war; We here, the captors, lay before The altar which of right claims all– Our Country. And as freely we, Revering ever […]

Over the hearth–my father’s seat– Repose, to patriot-memory dear, Thou tried companion, whom at last I greet By steepy banks of Hudson here. How oft I told thee of this scene– The Highlands blue–the river’s narrowing sheen. Little at Gettysburg we thought To find such haven; but God kept it green. Long rest! with belt, […]

To them who crossed the flood And climbed the hill, with eyes Upon the heavenly flag intent, And through the deathful tumult went Even unto death: to them this Stone– Erect, where they were overthrown– Of more than victory the monument.

They said that Fame her clarion dropped Because great deeds were done no more– That even Duty knew no shining ends, And Glory–’twas a fallen star! But battle can heroes and bards restore. Nay, look at Kenesaw: Perils the mailed ones never knew Are lightly braved by the ragged coats of blue, And gentler hearts […]

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.

On the Home Guards who perished in the Defense of Lexington, Missouri. The men who here in harness died Fell not in vain, though in defeat. They by their end well fortified The Cause, and built retreat (With memory of their valor tried) For emulous hearts in many an after fray– Hearts sore beset, which […]

Afar they fell. It was the zone Of fig and orange, cane and lime (A land how all unlike their own, With the cold pine-grove overgrown), But still their Country’s clime. And there in youth they died for her– The Volunteers, For her went up their dying prayers: So vast the Nation, yet so strong […]

An Epitaph

Story type: Poetry

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When Sunday tidings from the front Made pale the priest and people, And heavily the blessing went, And bells were dumb in the steeple; The Soldier’s widow (summering sweerly here, In shade by waving beeches lent) Felt deep at heart her faith content, And priest and people borrowed of her cheer.

“Sharp words we had before the fight; But–now the fight is done– Look, here’s my hand,” said the Victor bold, “Take it–an honest one! What, holding back? I mean you well; Though worsted, you strove stoutly, man; The odds were great; I honor you; Man honors man. “Still silent, friend? can grudges be? Yet am […]

Head-board and foot-board duly placed– Grassed in the mound between; Daniel Drouth is the slumberer’s name– Long may his grave be green! Quick was his way–a flash and a blow, Full of his fire was he– A fire of hell–’tis burnt out now– Green may his grave long be! May his grave be green, though […]

A Picture by S.R. Gifford, and owned by E.B. Included in the N.A. Exhibition, April, 1865. All feeling hearts must feel for him Who felt this picture. Presage dim– Dim inklings from the shadowy sphere Fixed him and fascinated here. A demon-cloud like the mountain one Burst on a spirit as mild As this urned […]

Significant of the national exaltation of enthusiasm at the close of the War. O the precipice Titanic Of the congregated Fall, And the angle oceanic Where the deepening thunders call– And the Gorge so grim, And the firmamental rim! Multitudinously thronging The waters all converge, Then they sweep adown in sloping Solidity of surge. The […]

The Muster

Story type: Poetry

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Suggested by the Two Days’ Review at Washington (May, 1865.) The Abrahamic river– Patriarch of floods, Calls the roll of all his streams And watery mutitudes: Torrent cries to torrent, The rapids hail the fall; With shouts the inland freshets Gather to the call. The quotas of the Nation, Like the water-shed of waves, Muster […]

(April, 1865.) As billows upon billows roll, On victory victory breaks; Ere yet seven days from Richmond’s fall And crowning triumph wakes The loud joy-gun, whose thunders run By sea-shore, streams, and lakes. The hope and great event agree In the sword that Grant received from Lee. The warring eagles fold the wing, But not […]

(April, 1865.) What mean these peals from every tower, And crowds like seas that sway? The cannon reply; they speak the heart Of the People impassioned, and say– A city in flags for a city in flames, Richmond goes Babylon’s way– Sing and pray. O weary years and woeful wars, And armies in the grave; […]

Destruction of the Ram Albermarle by the Torpedo-Launch. (October, 1864.) Palely intent, he urged his keel Full on the guns, and touched the spring; Himself involved in the bolt he drove Timed with the armed hull’s shot that stove His shallop–die or do! Into the flood his life he threw, Yet lives–unscathed–a breathing thing To […]

(December, 1864.) Not Kenesaw high-arching, Nor Allatoona’s glen– Though there the graves lie parching– Stayed Sherman’s miles of men; From charred Atlanta marching They launched the sword again. The columns streamed like rivers Which in their course agree, And they streamed until their flashing Met the flashing of the sea: It was glorious glad marching, […]

(February, 1865.) So strong to suffer, shall we be Weak to contend, and break The sinews of the Oppressor’s knee That grinds upon the neck? O, the garments rolled in blood Scorch in cities wrapped in flame, And the African–the imp! He gibbers, imputing shame. Shall Time, avenging every woe, To us that joy allot […]

(July, 1864.) Arms reversed and banners craped– Muffled drums; Snowy horses sable-draped– McPherson comes. But, tell us, shall we know him more, Lost-Mountain and lone Kenesaw? Brave the sword upon the pall– A gleam in gloom; So a bright name lighteth all McPherson’s doom. Bear him through the chapel-door– Let priest in stole Pace before […]

(1683-64.) I Like snows the camps on southern hills Lay all the winter long, Our levies there in patience stood– They stood in patience strong. On fronting slopes gleamed other camps Where faith as firmly clung: Ah, froward king! so brave miss– The zealots of the Wrong. In this strife of brothers (God, hear their […]

(August, 1864.) O mystery of noble hearts, To whom mysterious seas have been In midnight watches, lonely calm and storm, A stern, sad disciple, And rooted out the false and vain, And chastened them to aptness for Devotion and the deeds of war, And death which smiles and cheers in spite of pain. Beyond the […]

Aloft he guards the starry folds Who is the brother of the star; The bird whose joy is in the wind Exultleth in the war. No painted plume–a sober hue, His beauty is his power; That eager calm of gaze intent Foresees the Sibyl’s hour. Austere, he crowns the swaying perch, Flapped by the angry […]

(July, 1863.) O pride of the days in prime of the months Now trebled in great renown, When before the ark of our holy cause Fell Dagon down– Dagon foredoomed, who, armed and targed, Never his impious heart enlarged Beyond that hour; god walled his power, And there the last invader charged. He charged, and […]

(November, 1863.) Who inhabiteth the Mountain That it shines in lurid light, And is rolled about with thunders, And terrors, and a blight, Like Kaf the peak of Eblis– Kaf, the evil height? Who has gone up with a shouting And a trumpet in the night? There is battle in the Mountain– Might assaulteth Might; […]

A View from Oxford Cloisters. (January, 1863.) With Tewksbury and Barnet heath In days to come the field shall blend, The story dim and date obscure; In legend all shall end. Even now, involved in forest shade A Druid-dream the strife appears, The fray of yesterday assumes The haziness of years. In North and South […]

(April, 1863.) A moonless night–a friendly one; A haze dimmed the shadowy shore As the first lampless boat slid silent on; Hist! and we spake no more; We but pointed, and stilly, to what we saw. We felt the dew, and seemed to feel The secret like a burden laid. The first boat melts; and […]

One man we claim of wrought renown Which not the North shall care to slur; A Modern lived who sleeps in death, Calm as the marble Ancients are: ‘Tis he whose life, though a vapor’s wreath, Was charged with the lightning’s burning breath– Stonewall, stormer of the war. But who shall hymn the roman heart? […]

(1862.) When tempest winnowed grain from bran; And men were looking for a man, Authority called you to the van, McClellan: Along the line the plaudit ran, As later when Antietam’s cheers began. Through storm-cloud and eclipse must move Each Cause and Man, dear to the stars and Jove; Nor always can the wisest tell […]

(April, 1862.) When Israel camped by Migdol hoar, Down at her feet her shawm she threw, But Moses sung and timbrels rung For Pharaoh’s standed crew. So God appears in apt events– The Lord is a man of war! So the strong wind to the muse is given In victory’s roar. Deep be the ode […]

The Cumberland

Story type: Poetry

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(March, 1862.) Some names there are of telling sound, Whose voweled syllables free Are pledge that they shall ever live renowned; Such seem to be A Frigate’s name (by present glory spanned)– The Cumberland. Sounding name as ere was sung, Flowing, rolling on the tongue– Cumberland! Cumberland! She warred and sunk. There’s no denying That […]

In The Turret

Story type: Poetry

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(March, 1862.) Your honest heart of duty, Worden, So helped you that in fame you dwell; You bore the first iron battle’s burden Sealed as in a diving-bell. Alcides, groping into haunted hell To bring forth King Admetus’ bride, Braved naught more vaguely direful and untried. What poet shall uplift his charm, Bold Sailor, to […]

Shiloh, A Requiem

Story type: Poetry

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(April, 1862.) Skimming lightly, wheeling still, The swallows fly low Over the field in clouded days, The forest-field of Shiloh– Over the field where April rain Solaced the parched ones stretched in pain Through the pause of night That followed the Sunday fight Around the church of Shiloh– The church so lone, the log-built one, […]

(November, 1861.) In time and measure perfect moves All Art whose aim is sure; Evolving ryhme and stars divine Have rules, and they endure. Nor less the Fleet that warred for Right, And, warring so, prevailed, In geometric beauty curved, And in an orbit sailed. The rebel at Port Royal felt The Unity overawe, And […]

Donelson

Story type: Poetry

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(February, 1862.) The bitter cup Of that hard countermand Which gave the Envoys up, Still was wormwood in the mouth, And clouds involved the land, When, pelted by sleet in the icy street, About the bulletin-board a band Of eager, anxious people met, And every wakeful heart was set On latest news from West or […]

(1860-1.) On starry heights A bugle wails the long recall; Derision stirs the deep abyss, Heaven’s ominous silence over all. Return, return, O eager Hope, And face man’s latter fall. Events, they make the dreamers quail; Satan’s old age is strong and hale, A disciplined captain, gray in skill, And Raphael a white enthusiast still; […]

(1860-1.) O the clammy cold November, And the winter white and dead, And the terror dumb with stupor, And the sky a sheet of lead; And events that came resounding With the cry that All was lost, Like the thunder-cracks of massy ice In intensity of frost– Bursting one upon another Through the horror of […]

(August, 1861.) Some hearts there are of deeper sort, Prophetic, sad, Which yet for cause are trebly clad; Known death they fly on: This wizard-heart and heart-of-oak had Lyon. “They are more than twenty thousand strong, We less than five, Too few with such a host to strive” “Such counsel, fie on! ‘Tis battle, or […]

The Misgivings

Story type: Poetry

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(1860.) When ocean-clouds over inland hills Sweep storming in late autumn brown, And horror the sodden valley fills, And the spire falls crashing in the town, I muse upon my country’s ills– The tempest bursting from the waste of Time On the world’s fairest hope linked with man’s foulest crime. Nature’s dark side is heeded […]