Magnanimity Baffled by Herman Melville

“Sharp words we had before the fight;
But–now the fight is done–
Look, here’s my hand,” said the Victor bold,
“Take it–an honest one!
What, holding back? I mean you well;
Though worsted, you strove stoutly, man;
The odds were great; I honor you;
Man honors man.

“Still silent, friend? can grudges be?
Yet am I held a foe?–
Turned to the wall, on his cot he lies–
Never I’ll leave him so!
Brave one! I here implore your hand;
Dumb still? all fellowship fled?
Nay, then, I’ll have this stubborn hand”
He snatched it–it was dead.

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