by Herman Melville (1819 - 1891)

One noonday, at my window in the town
Language: English 
One noonday, at my window in the town,
    I saw a sight -- saddest that eyes can see --
    Young soldiers marching lustily
      Unto the wars,
With fifes, and flags in mottoed pageantry;
      While all the porches, walks, and doors
Were rich with ladies cheering royally.
They moved like [Juny]1 morning on the wave,
  Their hearts were fresh as clover in its prime
  (It was the breezy summer time),
       Life throbbed so strong,
How should they dream that Death in a rosy clime
  Would come to thin their shining throng?
Youth feels immortal, like the gods sublime.

Weeks passed; and at my window, leaving bed,
    By night I mused, of easeful sleep bereft,
    On those brave boys (Ah War! thy theft);
      Some marching feet
Found pause at last by cliffs Potomac cleft;
     Wakeful I mused, while in the street
Far footfalls died away till none were left.

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Confirmed with Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War by Hermann Melville, New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, Franklin Square, 1866, pages 28-29.

1 Eidson: "June"


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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2014-01-10
Line count: 21
Word count: 145