Wednesday, February 4, 2015


This is coolbert:

More war poetry.

That personage of John Singleton Mosby the subject of a poem by none other than Herman Melville. As extracted but hardly in entirety, those devoted readers to the blog may peruse the remainder at their leisure.

"The Scout Toward Aldie"

 by Herman Melville

"novelist Herman Melville [as a civilian] was invited to join a scouting mission in search of Mosby and his rangers. It became Melville's only combat experience"

"The cavalry-camp lies on the slope
Of what was late a vernal hill,
But now like a pavement bare--
An outpost in the perilous wilds
Which ever are lone and still;
But Mosby's men are there --
Of Mosby best beware."

"Great trees the troopers felled, and leaned
In antlered walls about their tents;
Strict watch they kept; 'twas Hark! and Mark!
Unarmed none cared to stir abroad
For berries beyond their forest-fence:
As glides in seas the shark,
Rides Mosby through green dark."

. . . .

"They buried him where the lone ones lie
(Lone sentries shot on midnight post) --
A green-wood grave-yard hid from ken,
Where sweet-fern flings an odor nigh --
Yet held in fear for the gleaming ghost!
Though the bride should see threescore and ten,
She will dream of Mosby and his men."

"Now halt the verse, and turn aside --
The cypress falls athwart the way;
No joy remains for bard to sing;
And heaviest dole of all is this,
That other hearts shall be as gay
As hers that now no more shall spring:
To Mosby-land the dirges cling."

They just don't write em' like that anymore, do they? And why is that?

See other poetry within the military context:


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