I was first attracted by this evocation of a decisive moment in the English-French struggle over Canada: The Battle of the Plains of Abraham, 1759 … The similarity of the general’s responses to death is belied by the contrast in the syntax of their utterances. One serves a collective enterprise; the other is focused on the individual.
Wolfe demanded during dying
“Which obtain the Day”?
“General, the British” — “Easy”
Answered Wolfe “to die”
Montcalm, his opposing Spirit
Rendered with a smile
“Sweet” said he “my own Surrender
The parallelism and the ellipsis in the last two lines trip me up.
This is how I read the lines:
“Sweet” said he “my own Surrender [i.e. to death]
Liberty’s [surrender] [may] beguile”
I take that last verb to be in the subjunctive mood.
I do like the construction:
surrender “to” to avoid surrender “of”
It is a sentiment I believe found in other poems by Dickinson. Time to hunt. Like a bee.
And so for day 2639