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
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.
Ay, man is manly. Here you see
The warrior-carriage of the head,
And brave dilation of the frame;
And lighting all, the soul that led
In Spottsylvania’s charge to victory,
Which justifies his fame.
A cheering picture. It is good
To look upon a Chief like this,
In whom the spirit moulds the form.
Here favoring Nature, oft remiss,
With eagle mien expressive has endued
A man to kindle strains that warm.
Trace back his lineage, and his sires,
Yeoman or noble, you shall find
Enrolled with men of Agincourt,
Heroes who shared great Harry’s mind.
Down to us come the knightly Norman fires,
And front the Templars bore.
Nothing can lift the heart of man
Like manhood in a fellow-man.
The thought of heaven’s great King afar
But humbles us—too weak to scan;
But manly greatness men can span,
And feel the bonds that draw.
There is a coal-black Angel
With a thick Afric lip,
And he dwells (like the hunted and harried)
In a swamp where the green frogs dip.
But his face is against a City
Which is over a bay of the sea,
And he breathes with a breath that is
And dooms by a far decree.
By night there is fear in the City,
Through the darkness a star soareth on;
There’s a scream that screams up to the zenith,
Then the poise of a meteor lone—
Lighting far the pale fright of the faces,
And downward the coming is seen;
Then the rush, and the burst, and the havoc,
And wails and shrieks between.
It comes like the thief in the gloaming;
It comes, and none may foretell
The place of the coming—the glaring;
They live in a sleepless spell
That wizens, and withers, and whitens;
It ages the young, and the bloom
Of the maiden is ashes of roses—
The Swamp Angel broods in his gloom.
Swift is his messengers’ going,
But slowly he saps their halls,
As if by delay deluding.
They move from their crumbling walls
Farther and farther away;
But the Angel sends after and after,
By night with the flame of his ray—
By night with the voice of his screaming—
Sends after them, stone by stone,
And farther walls fall, farther portals,
And weed follows weed through the Town.