Misgivings

When ocean-clouds over inland hills
Sweep storming in late autumn brown,
And horror the sodden valley fills,
And the spire falls crashing in the town,
I muse upon my country's ills--
The tempest burning from the waste of Time
On the world's fairest hope linked with man's foulest crime.

Nature's dark side is heeded now--
(Ah! optimist-cheer dishartened flown)--
A child may read the moody brow
Of yon black mountain lone.
With shouts the torrents down the gorges go,
And storms are formed behind the storms we feel:
The hemlock shakes in the rafter, the oak in the driving keel.

by Herman Melville

Comments (6)

Thank you for a soul searching poem.
Caught in the middle of dire change- the dark clouds of civil war approaching to pit brother against brother. He certainly caught the brutality and fearsomeness of the changing time
My country's ills! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.
Apparently this was written just as the Civil War was about to break out.
Storms are formed behind the storms we feel...... Man's foulest crimes may end sometime for human goodness we can wish. A great poem.
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