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Over the tree-tops I float thee a song,
the prairies wide, Over the dense-pack'd cities all and the teeming wharves and
ways, I float this carol with joy, with joy to thee O death.
And I saw askant the armies,
missiles I saw them, And carried hither and yon through the smoke, and torn
and bloody, And at last but a few shreds left on the staffs, (and all in
silence) And the staffs all splinter'd and broken. I saw battle-corpses, myriads of them, And the white skeletons of young men, I saw them, I saw the debris and debris of all the slain soldiers of the
war, But I saw they were not as was thought, They themselves were fully at rest, they suffer'd not, The living remain'd and suffer'd, the mother suffer'd, And the wife and the child and the musing comrade
suffer'd, And the armies that remain'd suffer'd.
16 Passing the visions, passing the night, Passing, unloosing the hold of my comrades' hands, Passing the song of the hermit bird and the tallying song
of my soul, Victorious song, death's outlet song, yet varying ever
altering song, As low and wailing, yet clear the notes, rising and falling,
Aooding the night, Sadly sinking and fainting, as warning and warning, and
yet again bursting with joy, Covering the earth and filling the spread of the heaven, As that powerful psalm in the night I heard from recesses, Passing, I leave thee lilac with heart-shaped leaves, I leave thee there in the door-yard, blooming, returning
with spring I cease from my song for thee, From my gaze on thee in the west, fronting the west,
communing with thee, O comrade lustrous with silver face in the night. Yet each to keep and all, retrievements out of the night, The song, the wondrous chant of the gray-brown bird, And the tallying chant, the echo arous’d in my soul, With the lustrous and drooping star with the countenance
full of woe,
With the holders holding my hand nearing the call of the
bird, Comrades mine and I in the midst, and their memory
ever to keep, for the dead I loved so well, For the sweetest, wisest soul of all my days and lands —
and this for his dear sake, Lilac and star and bird twined with the chant of my soul, There in the fragrant pines and the cedars dusk and dim.
O CAPTAIN! MY CAPTAIN!
near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart !
Fallen cold and dead.
trills, For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths — for you the
shores a-crowding, For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain ! dear father!
You've fallen cold and dead.
done, From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells !
Fallen cold and dead.
Long silent, she too long silent, mourning her shrouded
hope and heir, Of all the earth her heart most full of sorrow because most
full of love. Yet a word ancient mother, You need crouch there no longer on the cold ground with
forehead between your knees, O you need not sit there veild in your old white hair so
disheveld, For know you the one you mourn is not in that grave, It was an illusion, the son you love was not really dead, The Lord is not dead, he is risen again young and strong
in another country, Even while you wept there by your fallen harp by the grave, What you wept for was translated, pass'd from the grave, The winds favor'd and the sea sail'd it, And now with rosy and new blood, Moves to-day in a new country.
THE CITY DEAD-HOUSE
tute brought, Her corpse they deposit unclaim'd, it lies on the damp
brick pavement, The divine woman, her body, I see the body, I look on it
alone, That house once full of passion and beauty, all else I
Nor stillness so cold, nor running water from faucet, nor
odors morbific impress me, But the house alone - that wondrous house - that deli
cate fair house that ruin ! That immortal house more than all the rows of dwellings
ever built! Or white-domed capitol with majestic figure surmounted,
or all the old high-spired cathedrals,
That little house alone more than them all — poor, desper
ate house! Fair, fearful wreck tenement of a soul — itself a soul, Unclaim'd, avoided house - take one breath from my
tremulous lips, Take one tear dropt aside as I
go for thought of you, Dead house of love house of madness and sin, crum
bled, crush'd, House of life, erewhile talking and laughing — but ah,
poor house, dead even then, Months, years, an echoing, garnish'd house — but dead,
Something startles me where I thought I was safest,
I will not touch my flesh to the earth as to other Alesh to
O how can it be that the ground itself does not sicken?
chards, grain ? Are they not continually putting distemper'd corpses
within you? Is not every continent work'd over and over with sour dead ? Where have you disposed of their carcasses ? Those drunkards and gluttons of so many generations ? Where have you drawn off all the foul liquid and meat ? I do not see any of it upon you to-day, or perhaps I am
deceiv'd, I will run a furrow with my plough, I will press my spade
through the sod and turn it up underneath, I am sure I shall expose some of the foul meat.