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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.

Search for the best famous Herman Melville poems, articles about Herman Melville poems, poetry blogs, or anything else Herman Melville poem related using the PoetrySoup search engine at the top of the page.

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Poems are below...


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Written by Herman Melville | Create an image from this poem

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.
Written by Herman Melville | Create an image from this poem

America

 I

Where the wings of a sunny Dome expand
I saw a Banner in gladsome air-
Starry, like Berenice's Hair-
Afloat in broadened bravery there;
With undulating long-drawn flow,
As rolled Brazilian billows go
Voluminously o'er the Line.
The Land reposed in peace below; The children in their glee Were folded to the exulting heart Of young Maternity.
II Later, and it streamed in fight When tempest mingled with the fray, And over the spear-point of the shaft I saw the ambiguous lightning play.
Valor with Valor strove, and died: Fierce was Despair, and cruel was Pride; And the lorn Mother speechless stood, Pale at the fury of her brood.
III Yet later, and the silk did wind Her fair cold for; Little availed the shining shroud, Though ruddy in hue, to cheer or warm A watcher looked upon her low, and said- She sleeps, but sleeps, she is not dead.
But in that sleep contortion showed The terror of the vision there- A silent vision unavowed, Revealing earth's foundation bare, And Gorgon in her hidden place.
It was a thing of fear to see So foul a dream upon so fair a face, And the dreamer lying in that starry shroud.
IV But from the trance she sudden broke- The trance, or death into promoted life; At her feet a shivered yoke, And in her aspect turned to heaven No trace of passion or of strife- A clear calm look.
It spake of pain, But such as purifies from stain- Sharp pangs that never come again- And triumph repressed by knowledge meet, Power delicate, and hope grown wise, And youth matured for age's seat- Law on her brow and empire in her eyes.
So she, with graver air and lifted flag; While the shadow, chased by light, Fled along the far-brawn height, And left her on the crag.
Written by Herman Melville | Create an image from this poem

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.
Written by Herman Melville | Create an image from this poem

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.
Written by Herman Melville | Create an image from this poem

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.
Written by Herman Melville | Create an image from this poem

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.
Written by Herman Melville | Create an image from this poem

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.
Written by Herman Melville | Create an image from this poem

Gettysburg

 O Pride of the days in prime of the months
Now trebled in great renown,
When before the ark of our holy cause
Fell Dagon down-
Dagon foredoomed, who, armed and targed,
Never his impious heart enlarged
Beyond that hour; God walled his power,
And there the last invader charged.
He charged, and in that charge condensed His all of hate and all of fire; He sought to blast us in his scorn, And wither us in his ire.
Before him went the shriek of shells- Aerial screamings, taunts and yells; Then the three waves in flashed advance Surged, but were met, and back they set: Pride was repelled by sterner pride, And Right is a strong-hold yet.
Before our lines it seemed a beach Which wild September gales have strown With havoc on wreck, and dashed therewith Pale crews unknown- Men, arms, and steeds.
The evening sun Died on the face of each lifeless one, And died along the winding marge of fight And searching-parties lone.
Sloped on the hill the mounds were green, Our centre held that place of graves, And some still hold it in their swoon, And over these a glory waves.
The warrior-monument, crashed in fight, Shall soar transfigured in loftier light, A meaning ampler bear; Soldier and priest with hymn and prayer Have laid the stone, and every bone Shall rest in honor there.
Written by Herman Melville | Create an image from this poem

Chattanooga

 (November, 1863)

A kindling impulse seized the host
Inspired by heaven's elastic air;
Their hearts outran their General's plan,
Though Grant commanded there - 
Grant, who without reserve can dare;
And, "Well, go on and do your will,"
He said, and measured the mountain then:
So master-riders fling the rein - 
But you must know your men.
On yester-morn in grayish mist, Armies like ghosts on hills had fought, And rolled from the cloud their thunders loud The Cumberlands far had caught: Today the sunlit steeps are sought.
Grant stood on cliffs whence all was plain, And smoked as one who feels no cares; But mastered nervousness intense, Alone such calmness wears.
The summit-cannon plunge their flame Sheer down the primal wall, But up and up each linking troop In stretching festoons crawl - Nor fire a shot.
Such men appal The foe, though brave.
He, from the brink, Looks far along the breadth of slope, And sees two miles of dark dots creep, And knows they mean the cope.
He sees them creep.
Yet here and there Half hid 'mid leafless groves they go; As men who ply through traceries high Of turreted marbles show - So dwindle these to eyes below.
But fronting shot and flanking shell Sliver and rive the inwoven ways; High tops of oaks and high hearts fall, But never the climbing stays.
Near and more near; till now the flags Run like a catching flame; And one flares highest, to peril nighest - He means to make a name: Salvos! they give him his fame.
The staff is caught, and next the rush, And then the leap where death has led; Flag answered flag along the crest, And swarms of rebels fled.
But some who gained the envied Alp, And -eager, ardent, earnest there - Dropped into Death's wide-open arms, Quelled on the wing like eagles struck in air - Forever they slumber young and fair, The smile upon them as they died; Their end attained, that end a height: Life was to these a dream fulfilled, And death a starry night.
Written by Herman Melville | Create an image from this poem

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.
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