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AS I PONDER'D IN SILENCE.

1

AS I ponder'd in silence,
Returning upon my poems, considering, lingering long,
A Phantom arose before me, with distrustful aspect,
Terrible in beauty, age, and power,



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The genius of poets of old lands,
As to me directing like flame its eyes,
With finger pointing to many immortal songs,
And menacing voice, What singest thou? it said;
Knowest thou not, there is but one theme for ever-enduring
bards?
And that is the theme of War, the fortune of battles,
The making of perfect soldiers?


2

Be it so, then I answer'd,
I too, haughty Shade, also sing war—and a longer and
greater one than any,
Waged in my book with varying fortune—with fight, ad-
vance, and retreat—Victory deferr'd and wavering,
(Yet, methinks, certain, or as good as certain, at the last,)
—The field the world;
For life and death—for the Body, and for the eternal Soul,
Lo! I too am come, chanting the chant of battles,
I, above all, promote brave soldiers.


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