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[278] his secretary. Brownell thus had an opportunity, in actual service, to become acquainted with the details of warfare. The best of his pieces, all included in Lyrics of a day (1864) and War-Lyrics (1866), still deserve praise as strong as that pronounced by Lowell and Aldrich in Brownell's own generation. His power lay in combining vivid detail with lyric exultation, accurate pictures of still life with fiery episodes of heroic action. No other Northern poet reported real warfare so accurately. Some of Brownell's lines read like rhymed journalism, but he had everywhere such intensity of visualization, such fiery passion, and such natural, racy language dignified by sincerity that he rarely suffered any descent into prose, though he tended to longeurs. Energy and swift movement are not his only qualities. In the midst of The Bay fight he does not forget the actual men engaged. He can pass from scenes of fighting to the calm, sad picture of Lincoln watching from on high the troops that have not returned for the Grand Review in Washington. Perhaps nothing in his verse seems more striking, in the twentieth century, than his terrific confidence in the cause of the Union and equally terrific condemnation of all Southern ‘traitors.’ His moral energy is as much the secret of his power as are his poetical vigour and veracity.

Less important than Brownell as a war poet was George Henry Boker,1 a native of Pennsylvania, who, though primarily a dramatist, was from 1861 to 1871 the efficient secretary of the Union League of Philadelphia, and prominent in patriotic activities throughout the struggle. His Poems of the War appeared in 1864. It contained a few pieces, some of them still remembered, which adequately represent the faith and deep feeling of that time. Most interesting are the Dirge for a soldier, On Board the Cumberland, The ballad of New Orleans, Upon the Hill before Centreville, The black regiment, The battle of Lookout Mountain. Boker's lyrics, however, lack the passionate truthfulness of Brownell's, and play too much with allegory and ancient mythology for the best effect. The Dirge, called forth by the death of General Kearny, is spontaneous and haunting. Bayard Taylor,2 a friend of Boker, while ardently sympathetic toward the Union cause, and a speaker in its behalf in America and England, shows a slighter imprint of the conflict

1 See also Book II, Chap. II.

2 See also Book III, Chap. X.

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