Fearless they flash through gates of flame,
The salamanders hard to hit,
Though vivid shows each bulky frame;
And never the batteries intermit,
Nor the boats huge guns; they fire and flit.
Anon a lull. The beacon dies:
“Are they out of that strait accurst”
But other flames now dawning rise,
Not mellowly brilliant like the first,
But rolled in smoke, whose whitish volumes burst.
A baleful brand, a hurrying torch
Whereby anew the boats are seen—
A burning transport all alurch!
Breathless we gaze; yet still we glean
Glimpses of beauty as we eager lean.
The effulgence takes an amber glow
Which bathes the hill-side villas far;
Affrighted ladies mark the show
Painting the pale magnolia—
The fair, false, Circe light of cruel War.
The barge drifts doomed, a plague-struck one.
Shoreward in yawls the sailors fly.
But the gauntlet now is nearly run,
The spleenful forts by fits reply,
And the burning boat dies down in morning’s sky.
All out of range. Adieu, Messieurs!
Jeers, as it speeds, our parting gun.
So burst we through their barriers
And menaces every one:
So Porter proves himself a brave man’s son.
Mortally wounded at Chancellorsville.
The Man who fiercest charged in fight,
Whose sword and prayer were long—
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—
Earnest in error, as we feel;
True to the thing he deemed was due,
True as John Brown or steel.
Relentlessly he routed us;
But we relent, for he is low—
Justly his fame we outlaw; so
We drop a tear on the bold Virginian’s bier,
Because no wreath we owe.
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?
A stoic he, but even more:
The iron will and lion thew
Were strong to inflict as to endure:
Who like him could stand, or pursue?
His fate the fatalist followed through;
In all his great soul found to do
Stonewall followed his star.