A Dirge For McPherson

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Arms reversed and banners creped -
  Muffled drums;
Snowy horses sable-draped -
  McPherson comes.

  But, tell us, shall we know him more,
  Lost-Mountain and lone Kenesaw?

Brave the sword upon the pall -
  A gleam in gloom;
So a bright name lighteth all
  McPherson's doom.

Bear him through the chapel-door -
  Let priest in stole
Pace before the warrior
  Who led. Bell -toll!

Lay him down within the nave,
  The lesson read -
Man is noble, man is brave,
  But man's - a weed.

Take him up again and wend
  Graveward, nor weep:
There's a trumpet that shall rend
  This Soldier's sleep.

Pass the ropes the coffin round,
  And let descend;
Prayer and volley - let it sound
  McPherson's end.

  True fame is his, for life is o'er -
  Sarpedon of the mighty war.

© Herman Melville