Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FOOT, by JOHN GARDINER CALKINS BRAINARD

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE FOOT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I sing the foot. Let every muse's wing
Last Line: Assist me to immortalize the foot.
Subject(s): Feet

I SING the Foot. Let every Muse's wing
Arrange its quills and fan the classic lay --
For Phoeligbus had a foot -- and Venus blessed
Had more than that, a foot and ancle too.
Neptune, as Homer sung, could cause the shades,
And woods, and mountains tremble with his step.
Immortal was his foot-fall. Juno bright,
Stampted, when she scolded forth in Jove's own court.
'T was Hebe's foot that bore the nectar round,
And Jupiter's great toe that Mulciber
Leaped from to Lemnos. -- But enough of all
This heathen lore -- this pantheon exercise.
What when the drum beats, and the panting ranks
Are joining, closing, moving on the foe --
When the deep whisper speeds along the line,
And all must "do or die" -- what onward moves
The heart-pulse and the nerve, the ready hand,
The eye determined, and the kindling soul!
What urges up the bayonet -- what mounts
The desperate height, the ladder and the breach,
And tramples on the rended, blood-stained flag?
What firmest paces on the rampart walk,
Or softest trips it to a lady's bower,
Or lightest sports it in the fairy dance,
Or what, on provocation, first applies
Its energies to kick a scamp down stairs?
O Swift Achilles of the tender heel--
O well-shod Grecians of the classic boots, --
O Infantry of poets, to whose feet
Nor boot, nor shoe, nor stocking e'er belonged,
O Cinderella of the vitreous sock --
O Giant-killing Jack with seven leagued strides,
Assist me to immortalize the foot.

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