by Herman Melville (1819 - 1891)

Skimming lightly, wheeling still
Language: English 
Skimming lightly, wheeling still,
  The swallows fly low
Over the fields in [clouded]1 days,
  The forest-field of Shiloh --
Over the field where April rain
Solaced the parched ones stretched in pain
Through the pause of night
That followed the Sunday fight
  Around the church of Shiloh --
The church, so lone, the log-built one,
That echoed to many a parting groan
      And natural prayer
  Of dying foemen mingled there --
Foemen at morn, but friends at eve --
  Fame or country least their care:
(What like a bullet can undeceive!)
  But now they lie low,
While over them the swallows skim,
  And all is hushed at Shiloh.

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Note: April 6th-7th, 1862, Shiloh, Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee: General Ulysses S. Grant, leading Union forces (Armies of the Tennessee and of the Ohio), defeated the Confederate Army of the Mississippi under Generals Albert Sidney Johnston and P. G. T. Beauregard. Almost 24,000 soldiers died in the battle.

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Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2005-10-15
Line count: 19
Word count: 104