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Poems [This special section of Poems consists of selected works discussed in the issue’s essays. The editors would like to thank The Ohio State University College of Humanities, whose generous subvention made this section of rarely reprinted Melville poems possible.] From Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War The Stone Fleetb an old sailor’s lament (DECEMBER, 1861) I HAVE a feeling for those ships, Each worn and ancient one, With great bluff bows, and broad in the beam: Ay, it was unkindly done. But so they serve the Obsolete— Even so, Stone Fleet! You’ll say I’m doting; do but think I scudded round the Horn in one— The Tenedos, a glorious Good old craft as ever run— Sunk (how all unmeet!) With the Old Stone Fleet. An India ship of fame was she, Spices and shawls and fans she bore; A whaler when her wrinkles came— Turned off! till, spent and poor, Her bones were sold (escheat)! Ah! Stone Fleet. Four were erst patrician keels (Names attest what families be), The Kensington, and Richmond too, Leonidas, and Lee: C  2007 The Authors Journal compilation C  2007 The Melville Society and Blackwell Publishing Inc L E V I A T H A N A J O U R N A L O F M E L V I L L E S T U D I E S 107 P O E M S But now they have their seat With the Old Stone Fleet. To scuttle them—a pirate deed— Sack them, and dismast; They sunk so slow, they died so hard, But gurgling dropped at last. Their ghosts in gales repeat Woe’s us, Stone Fleet! And all for naught. The waters pass— Currents will have their way; Nature is nobody’s ally; ’tis well; The harbor is bettered—will stay. A failure, and complete, Was your Old Stone Fleet. Noteb ‘The terrible Stone Fleet, on a mission as pitiless as the granite that freights it, sailed this morning from Port Royal, and before two days are past will have made Charleston an inland city. The ships are all old whalers, and cost the Government from $2500 to $5000 each. Some of them were once famous ships.’—(From Newspaper Correspondence of the day.) Sixteen vessels were accordingly sunk on the bar at the river entrance. Their names were as follows:— Amazon Leonidas America Maria Theresa American Potomac Archer Rebecca Simms Courier L. C. Richmond Fortune Robin Hood Herald Tenedos Kensington William Lee All accounts seem to agree that the object proposed was not accomplished. The channel is even said to have become ultimately benefited by the means employed to obstruct it. 108 L E V I A T H A N P O E M S Donelson (FEBRUARY, 1862) THE bitter cup Of that hard countermand Which gave the Envoys up, Still was wormwood in the mouth, And clouds involved the land, When, pelted by sleet in the icy street, About the bulletin-board a band Of eager, anxious people met, And every wakeful heart was set On latest news from West or South. “No seeing here;” cries one—“don’t crowd”— “You tall man, pray you, read aloud.” IMPORTANT. We learn that General Grant, Marching from Henry overland, And joined by a force up the Cumberland sent (Some thirty thousand the command), On Wednesday a good position won— Began the siege of Donelson. This stronghold crowns a river-bluff, A good broad mile of leveled top; Inland the ground rolls off Deep-gorged, and rocky, and broken up— A wilderness of trees and brush. The spaded summit shows the roods Of fixed entrenchments in their hush; Breast-works and rifle-pits in woods Perplex the base.— The welcome weather Is clear and mild; ’tis much like May. The ancient boughs that lace together Along the stream, and hang far forth, A J O U R N A L O F M E L V I L L E S T U D I E S 109 P O E M S Strange with green mistletoe, betray A dreamy contrast to the North. Our troops are full of spirits—say The siege won’t prove...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1750-1849
Print ISSN
1525-6995
Pages
pp. 107-138
Launched on MUSE
2013-05-29
Open Access
No
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