Saturday, February 18, 2017

Battle-Pieces in New Orleans

We are indebted to HARPER & BROTHERS, New York, for a very handsomely printed and bound volume, entitled Battle Pieces and Aspects of the War, embracing a collection of fugitive pieces written during the conflict, by Herman Mellville. The writer, though he gave in to the general sentiment of the North in regard to the necessity of "crushing out the rebellion" by any and all means, seems often to have had a secret misgiving, as to whether much that was done, was in reality justified by the laws of humanity which rise higher than those of war. Hence, when the conflict is over he ranges himself on the side of the Conservatives and peace. The lines entitled "Lee in the Capital," evidence this mind. He makes the hero say without disapproval:
"These noble spirits are yet yours to win.
Shall the great North go Sylla's way?
Proscribe—prolong the evil day?
Confirm the curse? Infix the hate?
In Union's name forever alienate?
               . . . Unless you shun
To copy Europe in her worst estate—
Avoid the tyranny you reprobate."
--DeBow's Review - November 1866

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