Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE PORTENT, by HERMAN MELVILLE

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THE PORTENT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Hanging from the beam
Last Line: The meteor of the war.
Subject(s): Abolitionists; American Civil War; Brown, John (1800-1859); Slavery; Social Protest; United States - History; Anti-slavery; Serfs

Hanging from the beam,
Slowly swaying (such the law),
Gaunt the shadow on your green,
The cut is on the crown
(Lo, John Brown),
And the stabs shall heal no more.

Hidden in the cap
Is the anguish none can draw;
So your future veils its face,
But the streaming beard is shown
(Weird John Brown),
The meteor of the war.

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