Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 91 pages of information about Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War.

The summit-cannon plunge their flame
  Sheer down the primal wall,
But up and up each linking troop
  In stretching festoons crawl—­
  Nor fire a shot.  Such men appall
The foe, though brave.  He, from the brink,
  Looks far along the breadth of slope,
And sees two miles of dark dots creep,
  And knows they mean the cope.

He sees them creep.  Yet here and there
  Half hid ’mid leafless groves they go;
As men who ply through traceries high
  Of turreted marbles show—­
  So dwindle these to eyes below. 
But fronting shot and flanking shell
  Sliver and rive the inwoven ways;
High tops of oaks and high hearts fall,
  But never the climbing stays.

From right to left, from left to right
  They roll the rallying cheer—­
Vie with each other, brother with brother,
  Who shall the first appear—­
  What color-bearer with colors clear
In sharp relief, like sky-drawn Grant,
  Whose cigar must now be near the stump—­
While in solicitude his back
  Heap slowly to a hump.

Near and more near; till now the flags
  Run like a catching flame;
And one flares highest, to peril nighest—­
  He means to make a name: 
  Salvos! they give him his fame. 
The staff is caught, and next the rush,
  And then the leap where death has led;
Flag answered flag along the crest,
  And swarms of rebels fled.

But some who gained the envied Alp,
  And—­eager, ardent, earnest there—­
Dropped into Death’s wide-open arms,
  Quelled on the wing like eagles struck in air—­
  Forever they slumber young and fair,
The smile upon them as they died;
  Their end attained, that end a height: 
Life was to these a dream fulfilled,
  And death a starry night.

The Armies of the Wilderness. (1683-64.)

I

Like snows the camps on southern hills
  Lay all the winter long,
Our levies there in patience stood—­
  They stood in patience strong. 
On fronting slopes gleamed other camps
  Where faith as firmly clung: 
Ah, froward king! so brave miss—­
  The zealots of the Wrong.

        In this strife of brothers
          (God, hear their country call),
        However it be, whatever betide,
          Let not the just one fall.

Through the pointed glass our soldiers saw
  The base-ball bounding sent;
They could have joined them in their sport
  But for the vale’s deep rent. 
And others turned the reddish soil,
  Like diggers of graves they bent: 
The reddish soil and tranching toil
    Begat presentiment.

        Did the Fathers feel mistrust? 
          Can no final good be wrought? 
        Over and over, again and again
          Must the fight for the Right be fought?

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