Monday, May 25, 2009

for Memorial Day

a poem from Herman Melville's Battle Pieces (1866)

On the Men of Maine
killed in the Victory of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Afar they fell. It was the zone
Of fig and orange, cane and lime
(A land how all unlike their own,
With the cold pine-grove overgrown),
But still their Country's clime.
And there in youth they died for her -
The Volunteers,
For her went up their dying prayers:
So vast the Nation, yet so strong the tie.
What doubt shall come, then, to deter
The Republic's earnest faith and courage high.