Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 16: No 2) >> Simms and Melville in 1865: A Note on Garner's Melville >> Page 8

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 8

Secondary Scholarship | 2008
Transcription What is certain is that Melville was alarmed and repulsed by
Radical reconstruction. He added to the book at a late date a long poem,
"Lee in the Capitol," and a prose "Supplement;" both of which were appeals
for magnanimity toward the defeated South. The tone of the other pieces was
revised to lessen wartime asperity and admit recognition of the courage,
chivalry, suffering, and common Americanness of the South. "Rebel Color-
Bearers at Shiloh" gives an account, for instance, of Confederate heroism
which was responded to magnanimously by Northern fighting men at the
time. "Shall nobleness in victory less aspire / Than in reverse? Spare Splee
her ire." The point was obvious: reconciliation and restoration, not
vindictiveness.
Simms's most obvious and direct influence, according to Garner, is
in "Magnanimity Baffled," a dramatic monologue in which "the Victor
Bold" extends a hand of friendship to a defeated Southerner: "I honor you;
Man honors man."









8