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[305] army had captured Dixie he might have extended his remarks to other poems that have become a part of our national heritage.

Still another interest attaches to it. Much of it is an adequate, if not felicitous and final, expression of the ideas and emotions of Southerners at a time when they felt as one people. The emotional fervour that swept over the South was somehow the inspiration of a literature different from that of any other era in its history. Southern literature before the war had been marked by its absorption in politics, or its divorce from real life, or its amateurishness and sentimentalism. A people that had been all too inclined to underrate poetry and to discourage literary production found their deepest emotions expressed in martial strains, or in meditative lyrics. Written for local newspapers, preserved in scrap-books, collected in volumes like those of Simms and Miss Mason, sifted by the later editors and collectors, they preserve heroes and incidents, landscapes and sentiments that will always endear them to the Southern people.

If we consider the poems from this last point of view, they serve to suggest the principal events of the war in rapid review. The gauntlet was thrown down in the poems hitherto cited and also in Tucker's The Southern Cross, Miles's God save the South, Randall's Battle Cry of the South, Mrs. Warfield's Chant of Defiance, Thompson's Coercion, and Hope's Oath of freedom. Among the group of Virginia poets who wrote of the early battles on Virginia soil, John R. Thompson (1822-73) and Mrs. Preston (1820-97) stand out as the most conspicuous. Of distinctly higher quality than the crude rhymes already referred to were Thompson's humorous poems on some of the early Southern victories. His On to Richmond, modelled on Southey's March to Moscow, is an exceedingly clever poem. His mastery of double and triple rhymes, his unfailing sense of the value of words, and his happy use of the refrain (‘the pleasant excursion to Richmond’) make this poem one of the marked achievements of the period. Scarcely less successful in their brilliant satire are his Farewell to Pope, England's Neutrality, and The Devil's delight.

The humour of these poems soon gave way, however, to the more heroic and tragic aspects of the war. Thompson himself wrote dirges for Ashby and Latane, both of them the finest

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