Sunday, May 6, 2012

Thompson the Poet

Maurice Thompson's biggest commercial success was his book, Alice of Old Vincennes, but he was noteworthy for another reason: he and his brother, Will, popularized archery in America. Thompson channeled his skill with the bow and his enthusiasm for the sport into various articles and books, including the classics, The Witchery of Archery (1878) and How to Train in Archery (1879). Thompson, who was born in Fairfield, Indiana, in 1844, spent his childhood in Georgia and moved to Crawfordsville after the Civil War (during which he fought on the Confederate side) where he practiced law and wrote. He served as Indiana state geologist and chief of the department of natural history between 1885 and 1889. Thompson died in 1901, just one year after completing his only bestseller.
In addition to writing novels and archery manuals, Maurice Thompson was a poet.

The ex-confederate soldier writes in "At Lincoln's Grave":

"May one who fought in honor for the South
Uncovered stand and sing by Lincoln's grave?
Why, if I shrank not at the cannon's mouth,
Nor swerved one inch for any battle-wave,
Should I now tremble in this quiet close,
Hearing the prairie wind go lightly by
From billowy plains of grass and miles of corn,
While out of deep repose,
The great sweet spirit lifts itself on high
And broods above our land this summer morn?" (continues)

Read more by and about Maurice Thompson at the library.

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