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.

        Where 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.

        Turned 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?

        Is 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.

        Were 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.

        Far 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.

        Like 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.

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