Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War.

By Herman Melville.


The Battle-Pieces in this volume are dedicated to the memory of the

THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND who in the war for the maintenance of the Union

fell devotedly under the flag of their fathers.

[With few exceptions, the Pieces in this volume originated in an impulse

imparted by the fall of Richmond. They were composed without reference

to collective arrangement, but being brought together in review,

naturally fall into the order assumed.

The events and incidents of the conflict--making up a whole, in varied

amplitude, corresponding with the geographical area covered by the

war--from these but a few themes have been taken, such as for any cause

chanced to imprint themselves upon the mind.

The aspects which the strife as a memory assumes are as manifold as are

the moods of involuntary meditation--moods variable, and at times widely

at variance. Yielding instinctively, one after another, to feelings not

inspired from any one source exclusively, and unmindful, without

purposing to be, of consistency, I seem, in most of these verses, to

have but placed a harp in a window, and noted the contrasted airs which

wayward wilds have played upon the strings.]

The Portent.


Hanging from the beam,

Slowly swaying (such the law),

Gaunt the shadow on your green,


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,


But the streaming beard is shown

(Weird John Brown),

The meteor of the the war.



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 now--

(Ah! optimist-cheer disheartened flown)--

A child may read the moody brow

Of yon black mountain lone.

With shouts the torrents down the gorges go,

And storms are formed behind the storm we feel:

The hemlock shakes in the rafter, the oak in the driving keel.

The Conflict of Convictions.[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;

Dashed aims, at which Christ's martyrs pale,

Shall Mammon's slaves fulfill?

(_Dismantle the fort,

Cut down the fleet--

Battle no more shall be!

While the fields for fight in aeons to come

Congeal beneath the sea._)

The terrors of truth and dart of death

To faith alike are vain;

Though comets, gone a thousand years,

Return again,

Patient she stands--she can no more--

And waits, nor heeds she waxes hoar.

(_At a stony gate,

A statue of stone,

Weed overgrown--

Long 'twill wait!_)

But God his former mind retains,

Confirms his old decree;

The generations are inured to pains,

And strong Necessity

Surges, and heaps Time's strand with wrecks.

The People spread like a weedy grass,

The thing they will they bring to pass,

And prosper to the apoplex.

The rout it herds around the heart,

The ghost is yielded in the gloom;

Kings wag their heads--Now save thyself

Who wouldst rebuild the world in bloom.


And top of the ages' strike,

Verge where they called the world to come,

The last advance of life--

Ha ha, the rust on the Iron Dome!_)

Nay, but revere the hid event;

In the cloud a sword is girded on,

I mark a twinkling in the tent

Of Michael the warrior one.

Senior wisdom suits not now,

The light is on the youthful brow.

(_Ay, in caves the miner see:

His forehead bears a blinking light;

Darkness so he feebly braves--

A meagre wight!_)

But He who rules is old--is old;

Ah! faith is warm, but heaven with age is cold.

(_Ho ho, ho ho,

The cloistered doubt

Of olden times

Is blurted out!_)

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.

(_The poor old Past,

The Future's slave,

She drudged through pain and crime

To bring about the blissful Prime,

Then--perished. There's a grave!_)

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.

Agee after age shall be

As 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.







Apathy and Enthusiasm.



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 the calm.

The paralysis of arm

In the anguish of the heart;

And the hollowness and dearth.

The appealings of the mother

To brother and to brother

Not in hatred so to part--

And the fissure in the hearth

Growing momently more wide.

Then the glances 'tween the Fates,

And the doubt on every side,

And the patience under gloom

In the stoniness that waits

The finality of doom.


So the winter died despairing,

And the weary weeks of Lent;

And the ice-bound rivers melted,

And the tomb of Faith was rent.

O, the rising of the People

Came with springing of the grass,

They rebounded from dejection

And Easter came to pass.

And the young were all elation

Hearing Sumter's cannon roar,

And they thought how tame the Nation

In the age that went before.

And Michael seemed gigantical,

The Arch-fiend but a dwarf;

And at the towers of Erebus

Our striplings flung the scoff.

But the elders with foreboding

Mourned the days forever o'er,

And re called the forest proverb,

The Iroquois' old saw:

_Grief to every graybeard

When young Indians lead the war._

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 ignorantimpulse 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: 'tis 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.


Battle of Springfield, Missouri.

(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 'tis shame;" and firm stood Lyon.

"For help at need in van we wait--

Retreat or fight:

Retreat the foe would take for flight,

  • volume [´vɔlju:m, ´vɑljəm] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.卷;书籍;体积;容量   (初中英语单词)
  • arrangement [ə´reindʒmənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.整理;排列;筹备   (初中英语单词)
  • horror [´hɔrə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.恐怖;战栗   (初中英语单词)
  • valley [´væli] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.谷;河谷;流域   (初中英语单词)
  • conflict [´kɔnflikt, kən´flikt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&vi.战斗;抵触   (初中英语单词)
  • statue [´stætʃu:] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.塑像,雕像   (初中英语单词)
  • warrior [´wɔriə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.勇士,战士   (初中英语单词)
  • wisdom [´wizdəm] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.智慧,聪明,才智   (初中英语单词)
  • youthful [´ju:θfəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.年轻的;青年的   (初中英语单词)
  • forehead [´fɔrid] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.额,前部   (初中英语单词)
  • scheme [ski:m] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.计划;阴谋,诡计   (初中英语单词)
  • stress [stres] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.强调;压力 vt.强调   (初中英语单词)
  • terror [´terə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.恐怖;惊骇   (初中英语单词)
  • hatred [´heitrid] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.憎恨,敌意   (初中英语单词)
  • patience [´peiʃəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.忍耐(力);耐心;坚韧   (初中英语单词)
  • cannon [´kænən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.大炮   (初中英语单词)
  • ignorant [´ignərənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.无知的,愚昧的   (初中英语单词)
  • impulse [´impʌls] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.推动(力);冲动;刺激   (初中英语单词)
  • survive [sə´vaiv] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.幸存;残存   (初中英语单词)
  • counsel [´kaunsəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.商议;劝告;律师   (初中英语单词)
  • flight [flait] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.逃走;飞行;班机   (初中英语单词)
  • maintenance [´meintinəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.保持;主张;保养   (高中英语单词)
  • strife [straif] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.竞争;吵架;冲突   (高中英语单词)
  • anguish [´æŋgwiʃ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.(极度的)痛苦;苦恼   (高中英语单词)
  • meteor [´mi:tiə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.大气现象;流星   (高中英语单词)
  • inland [´inlənd, in´lænd] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.&n.内地的 ad.在内地   (高中英语单词)
  • tempest [´tempist] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.暴风雨   (高中英语单词)
  • prosper [´prɔspə] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.(使…)繁荣(成功)   (高中英语单词)
  • intensity [in´tensiti] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.激烈;强度;深度   (高中英语单词)
  • easter [´i:stə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.(耶稣)复活节   (高中英语单词)
  • picnic [´piknik] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.郊游 vi.(去)野餐   (高中英语单词)
  • rapture [´ræptʃə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.着迷;全神贯注   (高中英语单词)
  • lasting [´lɑ:stiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.持久的;永远的   (高中英语单词)
  • composed [kəm´pəuzd] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.镇静自若的   (英语四级单词)
  • corresponding [,kɔri´spɔndiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.符合的;相当的   (英语四级单词)
  • geographical [dʒi:ə´græfik(ə)l] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.地理(学)的   (英语四级单词)
  • manifold [´mænifəuld] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.多样的;多种特征的   (英语四级单词)
  • instinctively [in´stiŋktivli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.本能地   (英语四级单词)
  • exclusively [ik´sklu:sivli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.独有地;排外地   (英语四级单词)
  • hemlock [´hemlɔk] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.铁杉;毒胡萝卜   (英语四级单词)
  • rafter [´rɑ:ftə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.橼 vt.装橼子于   (英语四级单词)
  • starry [´stɑ:ri] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.星光照耀的,闪亮的   (英语四级单词)
  • ominous [´ɔminəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.不祥的;预示的   (英语四级单词)
  • rebuild [,ri:´bild] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.重建;改造   (英语四级单词)
  • feebly [´fi:bli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.虚弱地;贫乏地   (英语四级单词)
  • boyish [´bɔiiʃ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.少年的;幼稚的   (英语四级单词)
  • experienced [ik´spiəriənst] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.有经验的;熟练的   (英语四级单词)
  • collective [kə´lektiv] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.集体的 n.集体   (英语六级单词)
  • involuntary [in´vɔləntəri] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.无意识的;非自愿的   (英语六级单词)
  • variable [´veəriəbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.易变的 n.可变量   (英语六级单词)
  • consistency [kən´sistənsi] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.坚韧;一致性   (英语六级单词)
  • enthusiast [in´θju:ziæst] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.热衷者,渴慕者   (英语六级单词)
  • revere [ri´viə] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.尊敬;敬畏   (英语六级单词)
  • paralysis [pə´rælisis] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.麻痹;瘫痪   (英语六级单词)
  • fissure [´fiʃə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.裂缝;分歧   (英语六级单词)
  • blithe [´blaið] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.快乐的;冒失的   (英语六级单词)

  • 上传人 欢乐鱼 分享于 2017-06-26 18:07:26
    文章信息 浏览:0 评论:  赞: