Arms And The Man. - Prologue.

A poem by James Barron Hope

Full-burnished through the long-revolving years
The ploughshare of a Century to-day
Runs peaceful furrows where a crop of Spears
Once stood in War's array.

And we, like those who on the Trojan plain
See hoary secrets wrenched from upturned sods; -
Who, in their fancy, hear resound again
The battle-cry of gods; -

We now, - this splendid scene before us spread
Where Freedom's full hexameter began -
Restore our Epic, which the Nations read
As far its thunders ran.

Here visions throng on People and on Bard,
Ranks all a-glitter in battalions massed
And closed around as like a plum├Ęd guard,
They lead us down the Past.

I see great Shapes in vague confusion march
Like giant shadows, moving vast and slow,
Beneath some torch-lit temple's mighty arch
Where long processions go.

I see these Shapes before me, all unfold,
But ne'er can fix them on the lofty wall,
Nor tell them, save as she of Endor told
What she beheld to Saul.

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