are the birds and boys?
Who shall go chestnutting when
October returns? The nuts—
O, long ere they grow again.
They snug their huts with the chapel-pews,
In court-houses stable their steeds—
Kindle their fires with indentures and bonds,
And old Lord Fairfax’s parchment deeds;
And Virginian gentlemen’s libraries old—
Books which only the scholar heeds—
Are flung to his kennel. It is ravage and range,
And gardens are left to weeds.
adrift into war
Man runs wild on the plain,
Like the jennets let loose
On the Pampas—zebras again.
Like the Pleiads dim, see the tents through the storm—
Aloft by the hill-side hamlet’s graves,
On a head-stone used for a hearth-stone there
The water is bubbling for punch for our braves.
What if the night be drear, and the blast
Ghostly shrieks? their rollicking staves
Make frolic the heart; beating time with their swords,
What care they if Winter raves?
life but a dream? and so,
In the dream do men laugh aloud?
So strange seems mirth in a camp,
So like a white tent to a shroud.
The May-weed springs; and comes a Man
And mounts our Signal Hill;
A quiet Man, and plain in garb—
Briefly he looks his fill,
Then drops his gray eye on the ground,
Like a loaded mortar he is still:
Meekness and grimness meet in him—
The silent General.
men but strong and wise,
Honest as Grant, and calm,
War would be left to the red and black ants,
And the happy world disarm.
That eve a stir was in the camps,
Forerunning quiet soon to come
Among the streets of beechen huts
No more to know the drum.
The weed shall choke the lowly door,
And foxes peer within the gloom,
Till scared perchange by Mosby’s prowling men,
Who ride in the rear of doom.
West, and farther South,
Wherever the sword has been,
Deserted camps are met,
And desert graves are seen.
The livelong night they ford the flood;
With guns held high they silent press,
Till shimmers the grass in their bayonets’ sheen—
On Morning’s banks their ranks they dress;
Then by the forests lightly wind,
Whose waving boughs the pennons seem to bless,
Borne by the cavalry scouting on—
Sounding the Wilderness.
shoals of fish in spring
That visit Crusoe’s isle,
The host in the lonesome place—
The hundred thousand file.
The foe that held his guarded hills
Must speed to woods afar;
For the scheme that was nursed by the Culpepper hearth
With the slowly-smoked cigar—
The scheme that smouldered through winter long
Now bursts into act—into waw—
The resolute scheme of a heart as calm
As the Cyclone’s core.