MALVERN HILL (July 1862) by Herman Melville (1819-1891)

Ye elms that wave on Malvern Hill In prime of morn and May, Recall ye how McClellan's men Here stood at bay? While deep within yon forest dim Our rigid comrades lay -- Some with the cartridge in their mouth, Others with fixed arms lifted South -- Invoking so The cypress glades? Ah wilds of woe! The spires of Richmond, late beheld Through rifts in musket-haze, Were closed from view in clouds of dust On leaf-walled ways, Where streamed our wagons in caravan; And the Seven Nights and Days Of march and fast, retreat and fight, Pinched our grimed faces to ghastly plight -- Does the elm wood Recall the haggard beards of blood? The battle-smoked flag, with stars eclipsed, We followed (it never fell!) -- In silence husbanded our strength -- Received their yell; Till on this slope we patient turned With cannon ordered well; Reverse we proved was not defeat; But, ah, the sod what thousands meet! -- Does Malvern Wood Bethink itself, amd muse and brood? We elms of Malvern Hill Remember every thing; But sap the twig will fill: Wag the world how it will, Leaves must be green in spring.