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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,
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.
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
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.
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 ?
Pictures of growing spring and farms and homes,
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.
Lo, body and soul — this land,
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,
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,
And for love, sweet love — but praise! praise ! praise !
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.