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By Herman Melville

Skimming lightly, wheeling still,

      The swallows fly low

Over the field in clouded days,

      The forest-field of Shiloh—

Over the field where April rain

Solaced the parched ones stretched in pain

Through the pause of night

That followed the Sunday fight

      Around the church of Shiloh—

The church so lone, the log-built one,

That echoed to many a parting groan

            And natural prayer

      Of dying foemen mingled there—

Foemen at morn, but friends at eve—

      Fame or country least their care:

(What like a bullet can undeceive!)

      But now they lie low,

While over them the swallows skim,

      And all is hushed at Shiloh.


  • Social Commentaries

Poet Bio

Herman Melville
Although chiefly known for his magisterial novel Moby-Dick and for other prose works, Herman Melville was also a fascinating poet who turned to the art after his serious fiction failed to find appreciative readers. His eccentric verse displays the complexity of thought and verbal richness of his novels, which has led some critics to rank him just below Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson among 19th-century American poets. See More By This Poet

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