though written some years after the event, reviews the three days fight in rolling strophes that preserve the elation of triumph thrilling the North
on the morrow of that stupendous conflict.
With these should be mentioned the ode of George Parsons Lathrop
, recited on the twenty-fifth anniversary of Gettysburg
before the joint meeting of Union and Confederate veterans, for, with a voice at times eloquent, it renders the spirit of brotherhood that now predominates in our thoughts when dwelling on the greatest battle in American history.
The leaders in these historic events have occasioned more eulogies than will ever be cherished.
The poet is here at a peculiar disadvantage, which can be overcome only by finding the inevitable phrase.
‘Weak-winged is song’ when compared with actual achievement, unless it rush forth from genuine enthusiasm and fine feeling.
But the silent, impassive Grant
and the quiet, chivalrous Lee
have furnished small personal impulse to poetic flight.
No cause for regret in this; they need no imperishable literature to prolong their fame to a busy and forgetful posterity.
Their deeds are their fittest memorial.
The like may be said of ‘Stonewall
, although his picturesque campaigns have been sung in the vivid, rousing stanzas of Palmer
's Stonewall Jackson's way.
Yet it remains true that fine feeling has usually been touched by the thought of men now overshadowed, of some Zollicoffer
, or Ashby
, or Pelham
The greatest figure of the war has received a more enduring commemoration.
has inspired the finest imaginative product of the period.
's mystic dirge, When Lilacs last in the Dooryard Bloom'd,
enthusiastically pronounced ‘the most sonorous nocturn ever chanted in the church of the world,’ though too long for inclusion in this volume, consecrates with power and deep-toned solemnity the death of all who never returned from the colossal struggle.
The ‘large, sweet soul that has gone’