Herman Melville

(1 August 1819 – 28 September 1891 / New York City, New York)

Gettysburg - Poem by Herman Melville

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 in that charge condensed
His all of hate and all of fire;
He sought to blast us in his scorn,
And wither us in his ire.
Before him went the shriek of shells-
Aerial screamings, taunts and yells;
Then the three waves in flashed advance
Surged, but were met, and back they set:
Pride was repelled by sterner pride,
And Right is a strong-hold yet.

Before our lines it seemed a beach
Which wild September gales have strown
With havoc on wreck, and dashed therewith
Pale crews unknown-
Men, arms, and steeds. The evening sun
Died on the face of each lifeless one,
And died along the winding marge of fight
And searching-parties lone.

Sloped on the hill the mounds were green,
Our centre held that place of graves,
And some still hold it in their swoon,
And over these a glory waves.
The warrior-monument, crashed in fight,
Shall soar transfigured in loftier light,
A meaning ampler bear;
Soldier and priest with hymn and prayer
Have laid the stone, and every bone
Shall rest in honor there.

Comments about Gettysburg by Herman Melville

  • Gold Star - 14,029 Points Susan Williams (10/31/2015 3:17:00 PM)

    very visual, could almost hear those shells shrieking overhead (Report) Reply

    2 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Gold Star - 46,898 Points Edward Kofi Louis (10/31/2015 3:14:00 PM)

    'Hymn and prayer'. Nice work. (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »

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Read poems about / on: pride, september, soldier, beach, hate, power, green, fire, sun, light, god, wind

Poem Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003

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