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With dirges through the night, with the thousand voices

rising strong and solemn, With all the mournful voices of the dirges pour'd around

the coffin, The dim-lit churches and the shuddering organs - where

amid these you journey,
With the tolling tolling bells' perpetual clang,
Here, coffin that slowly passes,
I give you my sprig of lilac.

7 (Nor for


for one alone, Blossoms and branches green to coffins all I bring, For fresh as the morning, thus would I chant a song for

you O sane and sacred death.
All over bouquets of roses,
O death, I cover you over with roses and early lilies,
But mostly and now the lilac that blooms the first,
Copious I break, I break the sprigs from the bushes,
With loaded arms I come, pouring for you,
For you and the coffins all of you o death.)

8 O western orb sailing the heaven, Now I know what you must have meant as a month since

I walk'd, As I walk'd in silence the transparent shadowy night, As I saw you had something to tell as you bent to me night

after night, As you droop'd from the sky low down as if to my side,

(while the other stars all look'd on,) As we wander'd together the solemn night, (for something

I know not what kept me from sleep,) As the night advanced, and I saw on the rim of the west how full you

woe, As I stood on the rising ground in the breeze in the cool

transparent night,

were of

As I watch'd where you pass’d and was lost in the nether

ward black of the night, As my soul in its trouble dissatisfied sank, as where you

sad orb, Concluded, dropt in the night, and was gone.

9 Sing on there in the swamp, O singer bashful and tender, I hear your notes, I hear your

call, I hear, I come presently, I understand you, But a moment I linger, for the lustrous star has detain'd

me, The star my departing comrade holds and detains me.

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O how shall I warble myself for the dead one there I

loved ? And how shall I deck my song for the large sweet soul

that has gone? And what shall my perfume be for the grave of him I

love? Sea-winds blown from east and west, Blown from the Eastern sea and blown from the Western

sea, till there on the prairies meeting, These and with these and the breath of my chant, I'll perfume the grave of him I love.


O what shall I hang on the chamber walls ?
And what shall the pictures be that I hang on the walls,
To adorn the burial-house of him I love?

Pictures of growing spring and farms and homes,
With the Fourth-month eve at sundown, and the gray

smoke lucid and bright, With Aoods of the yellow gold of the gorgeous, indolent, ,

sinking sun, burning, expanding the air,

With the fresh sweet herbage under foot, and the pale

green leaves of the trees prolific, In the distance the flowing glaze, the breast of the river,

with a wind-dapple here and there, With ranging hills on the banks, with many a line against

the sky, and shadows, And the city at hand with dwellings so dense, and stacks

of chimneys, And all the scenes of life and the workshops, and the

workmen homeward returning.

I 2

Lo, body and soul — this land,
My own Manhattan with spires, and the sparkling and

hurrying tides, and the ships, The varied and ample land, the South and the North in

the light, Ohio's shores and Aashing Missouri, And ever the far-spreading prairies cover'd with grass and


Lo, the most excellent sun so calm and haughty,
The violet and purple morn with just-felt breezes,
The gentle soft-born measureless light,
The miracle spreading bathing all, the fulfillid noon,
The coming eve delicious, the welcome night and the stars,
Over my cities shining all, enveloping man and land.

13 Sing on, sing on you gray-brown bird, Sing from the swamps, the recesses, pour your chant from

the bushes, Limitless out of the dusk, out of the cedars and pines. Sing on dearest brother, warble your reedy song, Loud human song, with voice of uttermost woe. O liquid and free and tender! O wild and loose to my soul — O wondrous singer! You only I hear — yet the star holds me, (but will soon

depart, Yet the lilac with mastering odor holds me.

14 Now while I sat in the day and look'd forth, In the close of the day with its light and the fields of

spring, and the farmers preparing their crops, In the large unconscious scenery of my land with its lakes

and forests, In the heavenly aerial beauty, (after the perturb’d winds

and the storms, Under the arching heavens of the afternoon swift passing,

and the voices of children and women, The many-moving sea-tides, and I saw the ships how they

saild, And the summer approaching with richness, and the fields

all busy with labor, And the infinite separate houses, how they all went on,

each with its meals and minutia of daily usages, And the streets how their throbbings throbb’d, and the

cities pent-lo, then and there, Falling upon them all and among them all, enveloping me

with the rest, Appear'd the cloud, appear'd the long black trail, And I knew death, its thought, and the sacred knowledge

of death. Then with the knowledge of death as walking one side of

me, And the thought of death close-walking the other side of me, And I in the middle as with companions, and as holding

the hands of companions, I Aed forth to the hiding receiving night that talks not, Down to the shores of the water, the path by the swamp

in the dimness, To the solemn shadowy cedars and ghostly pines so still. And the singer so shy to the rest receiv'd me, The gray-brown bird I know receiv'd us comrades three, And he sang the carol of death, and a verse for him I love. From deep secluded recesses,

From the fragrant cedars and the ghostly pines so still,
Came the carol of the bird.
And the charm of the carol rapt me,
As I held as if by their hands my comrades in the night,
And the voice of my spirit tallied the song of the bird.
Come lovely and soothing death,
Undulate round the world, serenely arriving, arriving,
In the day, in the night, to all, to each,
Sooner or later delicate death.
Prais'd be the fathomless universe,
For life and joy, and for objects and knowledge curious,

And for love, sweet love but praise! praise ! praise !
For the sure-enwinding arms of cool-enfolding death.
Dark mother always gliding near with soft feet,
Have none chanted for thee a chant of fullest welcome ?
Then I chant it for thee, I glorify thee above all,
I bring thee a song that when thou must indeed come, come un-

falteringly. Approach strong deliveress, When it is so, when thou hast taken them I joyously sing the

dead, Lost in the loving floating ocean of thee, Laved in the flood of thy bliss O death. From me to thee glad serenades, Dances for thee I propose saluting thee, adornments and feast

ings for thee, And the sights of the open landscape and the high-spread sky

are fitting, And life and the fields, and the huge and thoughtful night. The night in silence under many a star, The ocean shore and the husky whispering wave whose voice I

know, And the soul turning to thee O vast and well-veild death, And the body gratefully nestling close to thee.

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