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A Dirge For McPherson

Herman Melville 1819 – 1891



Arms reversed and banners creped -
Muffled drums;
Snowy horses sable-draped -
McPherson comes.

But, tell us, shall we know him more,
Lost-Mountain and lone Kenesaw?

Brave the sword upon the pall -
A gleam in gloom;
So a bright name lighteth all
McPherson's doom.

Bear him through the chapel-door -
Let priest in stole
Pace before the warrior
Who led. Bell -toll!

Lay him down within the nave,
The lesson read -
Man is noble, man is brave,
But man's - a weed.

Take him up again and wend
Graveward, nor weep:
There's a trumpet that shall rend
This Soldier's sleep.

Pass the ropes the coffin round,
And let descend;
Prayer and volley - let it sound
McPherson's end.

True fame is his, for life is o'er -
Sarpedon of the mighty war.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Herman Melville

Herman Melville was an American writer best known for the novel Moby-Dick. more…

All Herman Melville poems | Herman Melville Books

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