Herman Melville

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

Misgivings - Poem by Herman Melville

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 burning 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 dishartened 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 storms we feel:
The hemlock shakes in the rafter, the oak in the driving keel.


Comments about Misgivings by Herman Melville

  • Amar Agarwala (8/1/2016 9:03:00 PM)


    Thank you for a soul searching poem. (Report) Reply

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  • Susan Williams (8/1/2016 4:46:00 PM)


    Caught in the middle of dire change- the dark clouds of civil war approaching to pit brother against brother. He certainly caught the brutality and fearsomeness of the changing time (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (8/1/2016 3:52:00 PM)


    My country's ills! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • (8/1/2016 2:13:00 PM)


    Apparently this was written just as the Civil War was about to break out. (Report) Reply

  • (8/1/2016 9:55:00 AM)


    Storms are formed behind the storms we feel...... Man's foulest crimes may end sometime for human goodness we can wish. A great poem. (Report) Reply

  • Oluwatobi Moses (8/1/2016 2:54:00 AM)


    i muse when i see many literal works but everyone is to lazy and not ready to read(learn) a line. (Report) Reply

Read all 6 comments »



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Read poems about / on: autumn, ocean, nature, child, hope, dark, world, time, children



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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