Classic and Contemporary Poetry
THE CONQUEROR, by JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY Poet's Biography
First Line: He hears the whir of the battle
Last Line: Into a tangle of endless wars.
Alternate Author Name(s): Johnson Of Boone, Benj. F.
Subject(s): Sea; Soldiers; War; Ocean
HE hears the whir of the battle-drum,
And the shrill-voiced fife, and the bugle-call,
With a thirsty spirit that drinks it all
As men might drink the wine poured from
Old wicker flagons raimented
With the rust and dust of ages dead.
He plunges into the crimson sea
Of carnage, and with a dauntless pride,
He swims, with his good star, side by side,
To the blood-sprayed heights of Victory,
Where never his glory waxes dim,
Though a woman's weak hand conquers him.
And nigh and alone -- as the sculptor makes
Him set in stone that the world may see --
He sits there, crowned eternally,
And sheltered under a flag that shakes
Her silken stripes and her silver stars
Into a tangle of endless wars.
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