The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Saturday

Sheridan's Ride
By Thomas Buchanan Read

Up from the South at break of day,
Bringing to Winchester fresh dismay,
The affrighted air with a shudder bore,
Like a herald in haste, to the chieftain's door,
The terrible grumble, and rumble, and roar,
Telling the battle was on once more,
And Sheridan twenty miles away.

And wider still those billows of war,
Thundered along the horizon's bar;
And louder yet into Winchester rolled
The roar of that red sea uncontrolled,
Making the blood of the listener cold,
As he thought of the stake in that fiery fray,
And Sheridan twenty miles away.

But there is a road from Winchester town,
A good, broad highway leading down;
And there, through the flush of the morning light,
A steed as black as the steeds of night,
Was seen to pass, as with eagle flight,
As if he knew the terrible need;
He stretched away with his utmost speed;
Hills rose and fell; but his heart was gay,
With Sheridan fifteen miles away.

Still sprung from those swift hoofs, thundering South,
The dust, like smoke from the cannon's mouth;
Or the trail of a comet, sweeping faster and faster,
Foreboding to traitors the doom of disaster.
The heart of the steed, and the heart of the master
Were beating like prisoners assaulting their walls,
Impatient to be where the battle-field calls;
Every nerve of the charger was strained to full play,
With Sheridan only ten miles away.

Under his spurning feet the road
Like an arrowy Alpine river flowed,
And the landscape sped away behind
Like an ocean flying before the wind,
And the steed, like a barque fed with furnace ire,
Swept on, with his wild eyes full of fire.
But lo! he is nearing his heart's desire;
He is snuffing the smoke of the roaring fray,
With Sheridan only five miles away.

The first that the general saw were the groups
Of stragglers, and then the retreating troops;
What was done? what to do? a glance told him both,
Then, striking his spurs, with a terrible oath,
He dashed down the line 'mid a storm of huzzas,
And the wave of retreat checked its course there, because
The sight of the master compelled it to pause.
With foam and with dust the black charger was gray;
By the flash of his eye, and the red nostril's play,
He seemed to the whole great army to say,
"I have brought you Sheridan all the way
From Winchester, down to save the day!"

Hurrah! hurrah for Sheridan!
Hurrah! hurrah for horse and man!
And when their statues are placed on high,
Under the dome of the Union sky,
The American soldier's Temple of Fame;
There with the glorious general's name,
Be it said, in letters both bold and bright,
"Here is the steed that saved the day,
By carrying Sheridan into the fight,
From Winchester, twenty miles away!"


I love the rhythm and the countdown in this poem, and the fact that the ride on the horse is compared to traveling by ship. Here, sort of, is an illustration to go with the poem:

Northern and Southern bears from Boyds Bear Country. The Union Bear says, "'Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us dare to do our duty as we understand it.' -- Abraham Lincoln." The Confederate Bear says, "'Do your duty in all things; you cannot do more, you should never wish to do less.' -- Robert E. Lee."

The highlights of my day were taking my son to the orthodontist (which is located on the top floor of a local mall, meaning that he had to be bought custard afterward to soothe his sore teeth and then a Furby toy from Burger King -- at least he couldn't eat the BK Meal he might otherwise have wanted with it), writing a bunch of articles and having dinner with my parents. Oh, and getting a VHS-DVD combo recorder -- our final family Chanukah present, and one which we are well pleased with; it has been tested on our wedding highlights videotape and The Winter Guest, which has never been out on DVD and did not appear to have any encoding to prevent it from being dubbed off the VHS.

Recorder at right below television. I love my living room.

Incidentally, Alan Rickman directed this movie, which is set on the Scottish coast in winter and often looks like an Andrew Wyeth painting, there are so many shades of white. The boy with the visible kitten is Sean Biggerstaff a.k.a. Oliver Wood from Harry Potter. Burning this to DVD was an experiment to see if it could be done; now for the lengthier and more complicated process to convert the rest of our family tapes, including my grandparents' home movies and my sons' namings.

Here is my review of "The Changeling", a scattered bunch of notes rather than anything deeply thematic because while the episode has its flaws, it plays so much better than I expected -- better than I remembered. On another Shatner note, I am delighted that Boston Legal seems to be the frontrunner at the SAG Awards and amused that it was nominated as a comedy when the Emmys and Golden Globes class it as a drama -- Shatner and Candice Bergen's characters depend on the actors' comic timing, so this is entirely fitting, but interesting that the acting awards noted this when the general television awards have not. I'm bummed that Shatner and Spader are in direct competition because I think it's likely they will split votes (and even I must root for Spader to win), but since the cast got an ensemble nomination including Rene Auberjonois, Julie Bowen and Mark Valley, I will be extremely happy if they all win that, even if none of the individuals win. And I am happy to see even more nominations for Brokeback Mountain.

thefridayfive: Playing in the Band
1. take a book you've read. now take the main character. put them in a band. what would the band's name be?
The Yellow Admiral!
2. what instrument would that character play? Fiddle! And he'd be the lead singer.
3. who else would be in that band? Stephen Maturin on cello, acoustic guitar, fiscorn and tarogato; Sophie Williams on keyboards; Tom Pullings on tin whistle, backing vocals and second fiddle; Barrett Bonden on percussion; Heneage Dundas on trumpet; Diana Villiers on tambourine, finger cymbals and castanets.
4. would they stay underground or get popular? Extremely popular! Then they would be involved in a scandal and have a fall from grace, defended only by their fellow musicians, but eventually they would become very successful again.
5. why did you choose that book? Because the entire Master and Commander series is a foot away from my desk.

fridayfiver: Geico
1. Have you broken any New Year's resolutions yet?
No, though I told thistlerose that I would break one of mine if she would break one of hers. *g*
2. Broken any bones? Not that I know of.
3. When is the last time someone else broke your heart? In a romantic sense, I don't know that anyone has ever broken my heart. Just in the sense of being treated horribly by someone I really cared about, a little over a year ago.
4. What is the most expensive item you've ever broken? Probably a computer, though I am still not sure what I did to the Compaq to kill it.
5. What phrase are your tired of hearing over and over again? My son asking why he doesn't have a million dollars and my father asking when I'm going to clean my house.

perkypaduan has a bad case of pneumonia and I am worried and would like to do something nice for her. What's the best distraction? I didn't have the concentration to read books when I was in the hospital, and I suspect she can't have a laptop around the medical equipment.

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