In Whitman's Hand
of the Bells
|Midnight Sept 19‑20 1881|
|The sobbing of the bells,|
|The sudden death‑news everywhere,|
|The slumberers rouse,|
|The rapport of the people,|
|(Full well they know that|
| message in the darkness,|
|Full well return, respond|
| within their breasts, their|
| brains, the sad reverberations,)|
|The passionate toll and clang,|
|City to city joining, sounding|
|Those heart‑beats of a Nation|
| in the Night.|
- This poem was composed sometime between September 19, 1881, when President James Garfield died and September 27, 1881, when the poem was initially published.
- Editorial note
- This manuscript is a draft of "The Sobbing of the Bells," first published in the Boston Daily Globe on September 27, 1881.
- This manuscript leaf is held with several other scraps of paper, including a newspaper clipping of the poem, in a large sheet of mylar at the Library of Congress.
- The Sobbing of the Bells | The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
- Whitman Archive ID