Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 137 pages of information about Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War.

The House-top. 
A Night Piece. 
(July, 1863.)

No sleep.  The sultriness pervades the air
And binds the brain—­a dense oppression, such
As tawny tigers feel in matted shades,
Vexing their blood and making apt for ravage. 
Beneath the stars the roofy desert spreads
Vacant as Libya.  All is hushed near by. 
Yet fitfully from far breaks a mixed surf
Of muffled sound, the Atheist roar of riot. 
Yonder, where parching Sirius set in drought,
Balefully glares red Arson—­there-and there. 
The Town is taken by its rats—­ship-rats. 
And rats of the wharves.  All civil charms
And priestly spells which late held hearts in awe—­
Fear-bound, subjected to a better sway
Than sway of self; these like a dream dissolve,
And man rebounds whole aeons back in nature.[9]
Hail to the low dull rumble, dull and dead,
And ponderous drag that shakes the wall. 
Wise Draco comes, deep in the midnight roll
Of black artillery; he comes, though late;
In code corroborating Calvin’s creed
And cynic tyrannies of honest kings;
He comes, nor parlies; and the Town redeemed,
Give thanks devout; nor, being thankful, heeds
The grimy slur on the Republic’s faith implied,
Which holds that Man is naturally good,
And—­more—­is Nature’s Roman, never to be scourged.

Look-out Mountain. 
The Night Fight. 
(November, 1863.)

Who inhabiteth the Mountain
  That it shines in lurid light,
And is rolled about with thunders,
  And terrors, and a blight,
Like Kaf the peak of Eblis—­
  Kaf, the evil height? 
Who has gone up with a shouting
  And a trumpet in the night?

There is battle in the Mountain—­
  Might assaulteth Might;
’Tis the fastness of the Anarch,
  Torrent-torn, an ancient height;
The crags resound the clangor
  Of the war of Wrong and Right;
And the armies in the valley
  Watch and pray for dawning light.

Joy, Joy, the day is breaking,
  And the cloud is rolled from sight;
There is triumph in the Morning
  For the Anarch’s plunging flight;
God has glorified the Mountain
  Where a Banner burneth bright,
And the armies in the valley
  They are fortified in right.

Chattanooga.  (November, 1863.)

A kindling impulse seized the host
  Inspired by heaven’s elastic air;[9]
Their hearts outran their General’s plan,
  Though Grant commanded there—­
  Grant, who without reserve can dare;
And, “Well, go on and do your will”
  He said, and measured the mountain then: 
So master-riders fling the rein—­
  But you must know your men.

On yester-morn in grayish mist,
  Armies like ghosts on hills had fought,
And rolled from the cloud their thunders loud
  The Cumberlands far had caught: 
  To-day the sunlit steeps are sought. 
Grant stood on cliffs whence all was plain,
  And smoked as one who feels no cares;
But mastered nervousness intense
  Alone such calmness wears.

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Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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