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

    0 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • 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

    5 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Edward Kofi Louis (8/1/2016 3:52:00 PM)

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

    0 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • (8/1/2016 2:13:00 PM)

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

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (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

    0 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Mr Salte (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

    2 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
Read all 6 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

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



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



Famous Poems

  1. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  5. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  6. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  7. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  8. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Mary Elizabeth Frye
  9. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You
    Pablo Neruda
  10. Television
    Roald Dahl
[Report Error]