When Israel camped by Migdol hoar, Down at her feet her shawm she threw, But Moses sung and timbrels rung For Pharaoh’s stranded crew. So God appears in apt events – The Lord is a man of war! So the strong wing to the muse is given In victory’s roar. Deep be the ode that hymns the fleet – The fight by night – the fray, Which bore our Flag against the powerful stream, And led it up to day. Dully through din of larger strife Shall bay that warring gun; But none the less to us who live It peals – an echoing one. The shock of ships, the jar of walls, The rush through thick and thin – The flaring fire-rafts, glare and gloom – Eddies, and shells that spin – The boom-chain burst, the hulks dislodged, The jam of gun-boats driven, Or fired, or sunk – made up a war Like Michael’s waged with leven. They fought through lurid dark till dawn; The war-smoke rolled away With clouds of night, and showed the fleet In scarred yet firm array, Above the forts, above the drift Of wrecks which strife had made; And Farragut sailed up to the town And anchored – sheathed the blade. The moody broadsides, brooding deep, Hold the lewd mob at bay, While o’er the armed decks’ solemn aisles The meek church-pennons play; By shotted guns the sailors stand, With foreheads bound or bare; The captains and the conquering crews Humble their pride in prayer. They pray; and after victory, prayer Is meet for men who mourn their slain; The living shall unmoor and sail, But Death’s dark anchor secret deeps detain. Yet Glory slants her shaft of rays Far through the undisturbed abyss; There must be other, nobler worlds for them Who nobly yield their lives in this.
- by Herman Melville (1819 - 1891), "Nobler worlds", appears in Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War, first published 1866 [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 Paul Phillips , "Nobler worlds", 2008, first performed 2011 [baritone and piano or orchestra], from Battle-Pieces, no. 6, Barnard Street Music [text verified 1 time]
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website: 2014-07-12
Line count: 48
Word count: 305