By Herman Melville 1819–1891 Herman Melville
To have known him, to have loved him
      After loneness long;
And then to be estranged in life,
      And neither in the wrong;
And now for death to set his seal—
      Ease me, a little ease, my song!
By wintry hills his hermit-mound
      The sheeted snow-drifts drape,
And houseless there the snow-bird flits
      Beneath the fir-trees’ crape:
Glazed now with ice the cloistral vine
      That hid the shyest grape.

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Poet Herman Melville 1819–1891

Subjects Friends & Enemies, Living, Nature, Relationships, Sorrow & Grieving, Death

Occasions Funerals

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Elegy

 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.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Friends & Enemies, Living, Nature, Relationships, Sorrow & Grieving, Death

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Elegy

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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