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Poems

Unidentified

Immolated

Children of my happier prime,
When One yet lived with me, and threw
Her rainbow over life and time,
Even Hope, my bride, and mother to you!
O, nurtured in sweet pastoral air,
And fed on flowers and light and dew
Of morning meadows- spare, ah, spare
Reproach; spare, and upbraid me not
That, yielding scarce to reckless mood,
But jealous of your future lot,
I sealed you in a fate subdued.
Have I not saved you from the drear
Theft, and ignoring which need be
The triumph of the insincere
Unanimous Mediocrity?
Rest, therefore, free from all despite,
Snugged in the arms of comfortable night.

 

*This pessimistic poem remained unpublished during Melville's lifetime. It has been suggested that the "Children of my happier prime" in line 1 are Melville's novels. The manuscript was found, along with other texts, among his papers after his death and was first published in 1924.