Nevertheless the verse of these thirty years is rich in provincial and sectional loyalties.
It has earnestness and pathos.
We have, indeed, no adequate national anthem, even yet, for neither the words nor the music of The star-spangled banner
fully express what we feel while we are trying to sing it, as the Marseillaise
, for example, does express the very spirit of revolutionary republicanism.
But in true pioneer fashion we get along with a makeshift until something better turns up. The lyric and narrative verse of the Civil War
itself was great in quantity, and not more inferior in quality than the war verse of other nations has often proved to be when read after the immediate occasion for it has passed.
Single lyrics by Timrod
and Paul Hayne
, H. H. Brownell
, Read, Stedman
, and other men are still full of fire.
Yet Mrs. Howe
's Battle Hymn
, scribbled hastily in the gray dawn, interpreted, as no other lyric of the war quite succeeded in interpreting, the mystical glory of sacrifice for Freedom.
Soldiers sang it in camp; women read it with tears; children repeated it in school, vaguely but truly perceiving in it, as their fathers had perceived in Webster
's Reply to Hayne
thirty years before, the idea of union made “simple, sensuous, passionate.”