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"
- by Herman Melville (1819 - 1891), "Ball's Bluff", subtitle: "A reverie", written 1861, appears in Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by Joseph Eidson , "Ball's Bluff", 2009 [baritone, B-flat clarinet, and piano], from Songs of this War, no. 1. [text verified 1 time]
- by Paul Phillips , "A reverie", 2008, first performed 2011 [baritone and piano or orchestra], from Battle-Pieces, no. 1, Barnard Street Music [text verified 1 time]
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website: 2014-01-10
Line count: 21
Word count: 145