Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Happy Birthday Herman Melville !

Herman Melville
Today is the birthday of an American novelist, short story writer, essayist and poet Herman Melville. Melville (August 1, 1819 – September 28, 1891) is best known for his novel Moby-Dick. His first three books gained much contemporary attention (the first, Typee, becoming a bestseller), and after a fast-blooming literary success in the late 1840s, his popularity declined precipitously in the mid-1850s and never recovered during his lifetime. When he died in 1891, he was almost completely forgotten. It was not until the "Melville Revival" in the early 20th century that his work won recognition, especially Moby-Dick, which was hailed as one of the literary masterpieces of both American and world literature. He was the first writer to have his works collected and published by the Library of America. Presenting some poems : Being Poet
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. 

An Uninscribed Monument on One of the Battle-Fields of the Wilderness

Silence and solitude may hint
(Whose home is in yon piney wood)
What I, though tableted, could never tell--
The din which here befell,
And striving of the multitude.
The iron cones and spheres of death
Set round me in their rust,
These, too, if just,
Shall speak with more than animated breath.
Thou who beholdest, if thy thought,
Not narrowed down to personal cheer,
Take in the import of the quiet here--
The after-quiet--the calm full fraught;
Thou too wilt silent stand--
Silent as I, and lonesome as the land. 

Dirge

We drop our dead in the sea,
The bottomless, bottomless sea;
Each bubble a hollow sigh,
As it sinks forever and aye.
We drop our dead in the sea,--
The dead reek not of aught;
We drop our dead in the sea,--
The sea ne'er gives it a thought.
Sink, sink, oh corpse, still sink,
Far down in the bottomless sea,
Where the unknown forms do prowl,
Down, down in the bottomless sea.
'Tis night above, and night all round,
And night will it be with thee;
As thou sinkest, and sinkest for aye,
Deeper down in the bottomless sea. 

Ball's Bluff: A Reverie

One noonday, at my window in the town,
I saw a sight - saddest that eyes can see -
Young soldiers marching lustily
Unto the wars,
With fifes, and flags in mottoed pageantry;
While all the porches, walks, and doors
Were rich with ladies cheering royally.
They moved like Juny morning on the wave,
Their hearts were fresh as clover in its prime
(It was the breezy summer time),
Life throbbed so strong,
How should they dream that Death in rosy clime
Would come to thin their shining throng?
Youth feels immortal, like the gods sublime.
Weeks passed; and at my window, leaving bed,
By nights I mused, of easeful sleep bereft,
On those brave boys (Ah War! thy theft);
Some marching feet
Found pause at last by cliffs Potomac cleft;
Wakeful I mused, while in the street
Far footfalls died away till none were left. 

Crossing The Tropics

From 'The Saya-y-Manto.'
While now the Pole Star sinks from sight
The Southern Cross it climbs the sky;
But losing thee, my love, my light,
O bride but for one bridal night,
The loss no rising joys supply.
Love, love, the Trade Winds urge abaft,
And thee, from thee, they steadfast waft.
By day the blue and silver sea
And chime of waters blandly fanned--
Nor these, nor Gama's stars to me
May yield delight since still for thee
I long as Gama longed for land.
I yearn, I yearn, reverting turn,
My heart it streams in wake astern
When, cut by slanting sleet, we swoop
Where raves the world's inverted year,
If roses all your porch shall loop,
Not less your heart for me will droop
Doubling the world's last outpost drear.
O love, O love, these oceans vast:
Love, love, it is as death were past! 

Aurora Borealis

Commemorative of the Dissolution of armies at the Peace_May, 1865
What power disbands the Northern Lights
After their steely play?
The lonely watcher feels an awe
Of Nature's sway,
As when appearing,
He marked their flashed uprearing
In the cold gloom--
Retreatings and advancings,
(Like dallyings of doom),
Transitions and enhancings,
And bloody ray.
The phantom-host has faded quite,
Splendor and Terror gone
Portent or promise--and gives way
To pale, meek Dawn;
The coming, going,
Alike in wonder showing--
Alike the God,
Decreeing and commanding
The million blades that glowed,
The muster and disbanding--
Midnight and Morn.