Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hymn Of Dead Soldiers

By Walt Whitman


One breath, O my silent soul!
A perfumed thought—no more I ask, for the sake of all dead soldiers.


Buglers off in my armies! At present I ask not you to sound; Not at the head of my cavalry, all on their spirited horses, With their sabres drawn and glistening, and carbines clanking by their thighs—(ah, my brave horsemen! My handsome, tan-faced horsemen! what life, what joy and pride, With all the perils, were yours!)

Nor you drummers—neither at reveill√©, at dawn,
Nor the long roll alarming the camp—nor even the muffled beat for a
Nothing from you, this time, O drummers, bearing my warlike drums.


But aside from these, and the crowd's hurrahs, and the land's
Admitting around me comrades close, unseen by the rest, and voiceless,
I chant this chant of my silent soul, in the name of all dead soldiers.


Faces so pale, with wondrous eyes, very dear, gather closer yet;
Draw close, but speak not.
Phantoms, welcome, divine and tender!
Invisible to the rest, henceforth become my companions;
Follow me ever! desert me not, while I live!

Sweet are the blooming cheeks of the living, sweet are the musical voices
But sweet, ah sweet, are the dead, with their silent eyes.

Dearest comrades! all now is over;
But love is not over—and what love, O comrades!
Perfume from battlefields rising—up from foetor arising.

Perfume therefore my chant, O love! immortal love!
Give me to bathe the memories of all dead soldiers.

Perfume all! make all wholesome!
O love! O chant! solve all with the last chemistry.

Give me exhaustless—make me a fountain,
That I exhale love from me wherever I go,
For the sake of all dead soldiers.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

On The Use Of Poetry

By Mark Akenside

1 Not for themselves did human kind
Contrive the parts by heaven assign'd
On life's wide scene to play:
Not Scipio's force nor Caesar's skill
Can conquer Glory's arduous hill,
If Fortune close the way.

2 Yet still the self-depending soul,
Though last and least in Fortune's roll,
His proper sphere commands;
And knows what Nature's seal bestow'd,
And sees, before the throne of God,
The rank in which he stands.

3 Who train'd by laws the future age,
Who rescued nations from the rage
Of partial, factious power,
My heart with distant homage views;
Content, if thou, celestial Muse,
Didst rule my natal hour.

4 Not far beneath the hero's feet,
Nor from the legislator's seat
Stands far remote the bard.
Though not with public terrors crown'd.
Yet wider shall his rule be found,
More lasting his award.

5 Lycurgus fashion'd Sparta's fame,
And Pompey to the Roman name
Gave universal sway:
Where are they?—Homer's reverend page
Holds empire to the thirtieth age,
And tongues and climes obey.

6 And thus when William's acts divine
No longer shall from Bourbon's line
Draw one vindictive vow;
When Sydney shall with Cato rest,
And Russel move the patriot's breast
No more than Brutus now;

7 Yet then shall Shakspeare's powerful art
O'er every passion, every heart,
Confirm his awful throne:
Tyrants shall bow before his laws;
And Freedom's, Glory's, Virtue's cause,
Their dread assertor own.