Henry Timrod

Clyde Wilson was very high on Southern poet Henry Timrod in May's Chronicles, taking some funny shots at Longfellow and Whitman on the way. Certainly, the Internet is there already, with 5,300 Google pages pointing to "Henry Timrod."

However, I can't stand this guy any more than I can Longfellow, and it has little to do with his Rebel politics. Yes he was a product of the tastes of his day, but Melville and Whitman bucked convention hard.

Say "no" to forced rhymes and line padding to make meter. If you are going to resort to the confection of rhyme, make it natural; when you pick your meter, play that meter naturally or choose another. So much 19th Century poetry is a disaster area and Timrod does not help.

by Henry Timrod

Two armies stand enrolled beneath
The banner with the starry wreath;
One, facing battle, blight and blast,
Through twice a hundred fields has passed;
Its deeds against a ruffian foe,
Stream, valley, hill, and mountain know,
Till every wind that sweeps the land
Goes, glory laden, from the strand.

The other, with a narrower scope,
Yet led by not less grand a hope,
Hath won, perhaps, as proud a place,
And wears its fame with meeker grace.
Wives march beneath its glittering sign,
Fond mothers swell the lovely line,
And many a sweetheart hides her blush
In the young patriot's generous flush.

I'm flushing and blushing for the Timrod fans, including Clyde Wilson.