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Slowly and sadly we laid him down,
From the field of his fame fresh and gory;
But we left him alone with his glory.
HELPS TO STUDY Charles Wolfe, a British clergyman, was born at Dublin, December 14, 1791, and died at Cork, February 21, 1823. His poem, “The Burial of Sir John Moore,” is the only one of his works now widely read.
Historical: Sir John Moore, an English general, was killed (January 16, 1809) in an engagement between the English and the army of Napoleon at Corunna, in Spain. In accordance with an expressed wish, he was buried at night on the battlefield. In St. Paul's Cathedral, London, a monument was erected to his memory, and a stone also marks the spot where he was buried on the ramparts, at Corunna. Note that it was from this port that the Spanish Armada sailed.
NATHANIEL PARKER WILLIS
THE waters slept. Night's silvery veil hung low
King David's limbs were weary. He had fled
Grew tremulous. But oh! for Absalom-
The pall was settled. He who slept beneath
"Alas, my noble boy, that thou shouldst die !
Thou, who wert made so beautifully fair !
And leave his stillness in this clustering hair!
My proud boy, Absalom?
“Cold is thy brow, my son, and I am chill
As to my bosom I have tried to press thee!
Like a rich harp-string, yearning to caress thee,
And cold lips, Absalom !
“But death is on thee. I shall hear the gush
Of music, and the voices of the young;
And the dark tresses to the soft winds flung-
To meet me, Absalom !
“And oh! when I am stricken, and my heart,
Like a bruised reed, is waiting to be broken,
Yearn for thine ear to drink its last deep token !
To see thee, Absalom!
“And now, farewell! 'Tis hard to give thee up,
With death so like a gentle slumber on thee;
If from this woe its bitterness had won thee.
My lost boy, Absalom!"
He covered up his face, and bowed himself
His hands convulsively, as if in prayer;
HELPS TO STUDY
Nathaniel Parker Willis was born in Maine in 1806. graduate of Yale and was an early contributor to various periodicals, including the “Youths' Companion,” which magazine had been founded by his father. The selection here given is regarded as the poet's masterpiece.
Historical: Absalom, the son of David, King of Israel, rebelled against his father. David sent his army to put down the rebellion, but said to his captains, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom.' In spite of this entreaty, Absalom was slain by Joab, a captain in David's army. The first forty-one lines relate to events preceding the battle, the remainder to events following the battle. Read 2 Samuel XVIII.
Notes and Questions
Find the Jordan on your map.
Ephraim where Absalom
killed. Describe the picture you see when
you read the first stanza. What do we call such expressions
as “Night's silvery veil''? What is night's silvery veil? "The willow leaves with a soft cheek upon the lulling tide,
Forgot the lifting winds" -
in the eighth line? Is the poet true to nature in what he says
of them? Show why. Select two words or expressions that seem to you to be especially beautiful or fit, and tell why. Do you like the selection Why?
Words and Phrases for Discussion
"melting tenderness “fashioned for a happier world” "lifting winds” "mantling blush' "straightened for the grave" "estranged” “breathing sleep”
"resistless eloquence” bruised reed' "still proportions! "Whose diamonds lit the passage of his blade"