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John Reuben Thompson (Джон Рубен Томпсон)

A Farewell to Pope

"Hats off" in the crowd. "Present arms" in the line!
Let the standards all bow, and the sabres incline —
Roll drums, the Rogue's March, while the conqueror goes,
Whose eyes have seen only "the backs of his foes."
Through a thicket of laurel, a whirlwind of cheers,
His vanishing form from our gaze disappears;
Henceforth with the savage Dacotahs to cope,
Abiit, evasit, erupit — John Pope.

He came out of the West, like the young Lochinvar,
Compeller of fate and controller of war,
Videre et vincere, simply to see,
And straightway to conquer Hill, Jackson, and Lee;
And old Abe at the White House, like Kilmansegg pere,
With a monkeyish grin and beatified air,
"Seemed washing his hands with invisible soap,"
As with eager attention he listened to Pope.

He came, and the poultry was swept by his sword,
Spoons, liquors, and furniture went by the board;
He saw — at a distance, the rebels appear,
And "rode to the front," which strangely the rear;
Pest, pilferer, puppy, pretender, poltroon;
He conquered — truth, decency, honor full soon,
And was fain from the scene of his triumphs to slope,
Sure there never was fortunate hero like Pope.

He has left us his shining example to note,
And Stuart has captured his uniform coat;
But 'tis puzzling enough, as his deeds we recall,
To tell on whose shoulders his mantle should fall;
While many may claim to deserve it, at least,
From Hunter, the Hound, down to Butler, the Beast,
None else, we can say, without risking the trope,
But himself can be parallel ever to Pope.

Like his namesake, the poet of genius and fire,
He gives new expression and force to the lyre;
But in one little matter they differ, the two,
And differ indeed, very widely, 'tis true —
While his verses gave great Alexander his fame,
'Tis our hero's reverses accomplish the same;
And fate may decree that the end of a rope
Shall award yet his highest position to Pope.

John Reuben Thompson's other poems:
  1. Turner Ashby
  2. The Burial of Latane
  3. Music in Camp
  4. Obsequies of Stuart
  5. On to Richmond

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