On The Photograph Of A Corps Commander


Ay, man is manly. Here you see
  The warrior-carriage of the head,
And brave dilation of the frame;
  And lighting all, the soul that led
In Spottsylvania's charge to victory,
  Which justifies his fame.
A cheering picture. It is good
  To look upon a Chief like this,
In whom the spirit moulds the form.
  Here favoring Nature, oft remiss,
With eagle mien expressive has endued
  A man to kindle strains that warm.
Trace back his lineage, and his sires,
  Yeoman or noble, you shall find
Enrolled with men of Agincourt,
  Heroes who shared great Harry's mind.
Down to us come the knightly Norman fires,
  And front the Templars bore.
Nothing can lift the heart of man
  Like manhood in a fellow-man.
The thought of heaven's great King afar
But humbles us—too weak to scan;
But manly greatness men can span,
  And feel the bonds that draw.


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Return to the Herman Melville Home Page, or . . . Read the next poem; On The Slain At Chickamauga

It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.