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Best Famous Herman Melville Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Herman Melville poems. This is a select list of the best famous Herman Melville poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Herman Melville poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Herman Melville poems.

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by Herman Melville | |

Misgivings

 When ocean-clouds over inland hills 
Sweep storming in late autumn brown, 
And horror the sodden valley fills, 
And the spire falls crashing in the town, 
I muse upon my country's ills-- 
The tempest burning from the waste of Time 
On the world's fairest hope linked with man's foulest crime.
Nature's dark side is heeded now-- (Ah! optimist-cheer dishartened flown)-- A child may read the moody brow Of yon black mountain lone.
With shouts the torrents down the gorges go, And storms are formed behind the storms we feel: The hemlock shakes in the rafter, the oak in the driving keel.


by Herman Melville | |

The Mound by the Lake

 The grass shall never forget this grave.
When homeward footing it in the sun After the weary ride by rail, The stripling soldiers passed her door, Wounded perchance, or wan and pale, She left her household work undone - Duly the wayside table spread, With evergreens shaded, to regale Each travel-spent and grateful one.
So warm her heart, childless, unwed, Who like a mother comforted.


by Herman Melville | |

America

 Once in English they said America.
Was it English to them.
Once they said Belgian.
We like a fog.
Do you for weather.
Are we brave.
Are we true.
Have we the national colour.
Can we stand ditches.
Can we mean well.
Do we talk together.
Have we red cross.
A great many people speak of feet.
And socks.


by Herman Melville | |

The Enthusiast

 "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him"

Shall hearts that beat no base retreat
In youth's magnanimous years - 
Ignoble hold it, if discreet
When interest tames to fears;
Shall spirits that worship light
Perfidious deem its sacred glow,
Recant, and trudge where worldlings go,
Conform and own them right?

Shall Time with creeping influence cold
Unnerve and cow? The heart
Pine for the heartless ones enrolled
With palterers of the mart?
Shall faith abjure her skies,
Or pale probation blench her down
To shrink from Truth so still, so lone
Mid loud gregarious lies?

Each burning boat in Caesar's rear,
Flames -No return through me!
So put the torch to ties though dear,
If ties but tempters be.
Nor cringe if come the night: Walk through the cloud to meet the pall, Though light forsake thee, never fall From fealty to light.


by Herman Melville | |

Immolated

 Children of my happier prime,
When One yet lived with me, and threw
Her rainbow over life and time,
Even Hope, my bride, and mother to you!
O, nurtured in sweet pastoral air,
And fed on flowers and light and dew
Of morning meadows -spare, ah, spare
Reproach; spare, and upbraid me not
That, yielding scarce to reckless mood,
But jealous of your future lot,
I sealed you in a fate subdued.
Have I not saved you from the dread Theft, and ignoring which need be The triumph of the insincere Unanimous Mediocrity? Rest, therefore, free from all despite, Snugged in the arms of comfortable night.


by Herman Melville | |

Shiloh

 A Requiem

Skimming lightly, wheeling still,
The swallows fly low
Over the fields in cloudy 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 foeman mingled there -
Foeman 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.


by Herman Melville | |

Falstaffs Lament Over Prince Hal Become Henry V

 One that I cherished,
Yea, loved as a son - 
Up early, up late with,
My promising one:
No use in good nurture,
None, lads, none!

Here on this settle
He wore the true crown,
King of good fellows,
And Fat Jack was one - 
Now, Beadle of England
In formal array - 
Best fellow alive
On a throne flung away!

Companions and cronies
Keep fast and lament; - 
Come, drawer, more sack here
To drown discontent;
For now intuitions
Shall wither to codes,
Pragmatized morals
Shall libel the gods.
One I instructed, Yea, talked to -alone: Precept -example Clean away thrown! Sorrow makes thirsty: Sack, drawer, more sack! - One that I prayed for, I, Honest Jack! To bring down these grey hairs - To cut his old pal! But, I'll be magnanimous - Here's to thee Hal!


by Herman Melville | |

Gold in the Mountain

 Gold in the mountain,
And gold in the glen,
And greed in the heart,
Heaven having no part,
And unsatisfied men.


by Herman Melville | |

Art

 In placid hours well-pleased we dream 
Of many a brave unbodied scheme.
But form to lend, pulsed life create, What unlike things must meet and mate: A flame to melt--a wind to freeze; Sad patience--joyous energies; Humility--yet pride and scorn; Instinct and study; love and hate; Audacity--reverence.
These must mate, And fuse with Jacob's mystic heart, To wrestle with the angel--Art.


by Herman Melville | |

Healed of My Hurt

 Healed of my hurt, I laud the inhuman Sea--
Yea, bless the Angels Four that there convene; 
For healed I am even by the pitiless breath 
Distilled in wholesome dew named rosmarine.


by Herman Melville | |

The Maldive Shark

 About the Shark, phlegmatical one,
Pale sot of the Maldive sea,
The sleek little pilot-fish, azure and slim,
How alert in attendance be.
From his saw-pit of mouth, from his charnel of maw, They have nothing of harm to dread, But liquidly glide on his ghastly flank Or before his Gorgonian head; Or lurk in the port of serrated teeth In white triple tiers of glittering gates, And there find a haven when peril's abroad, An asylum in jaws of the Fates! They are friends; and friendly they guide him to prey, Yet never partake of the treat -- Eyes and brains to the dotard lethargic and dull, Pale ravener of horrible meat.


by Herman Melville | |

The Portent

 Hanging from the beam, 
Slowly swaying (such the law), 
Gaunt the shadow on the green, 
Shenandoah! 
The cut is on the crown 
(Lo, John Brown), 
And the stabs shall heal no more.
Hidden in the cap Is the anguish none can draw; So your future veils its face, Shenandoah! But the streaming beard is shown (Weird John Brown), The meteor of the war.


by Herman Melville | |

Healed of My Hurt

 Children of my happier prime,
When One yet lived with me, and threw
Her rainbow over life and time,
Even Hope, my bride, and mother to you!
O, nurtured in sweet pastoral air,
And fed on flowers and light and dew
Of morning meadows -spare, ah, spare
Reproach; spare, and upbraid me not
That, yielding scarce to reckless mood,
But jealous of your future lot,
I sealed you in a fate subdued.
Have I not saved you from the dread Theft, and ignoring which need be The triumph of the insincere Unanimous Mediocrity? Rest, therefore, free from all despite, Snugged in the arms of comfortable night.