Books by Whitman
View Page 21b
DIRGE FOR TWO VETERANS.
1 THE last sunbeam
|Lightly falls from the finish'd Sabbath,|
Down a new-made double grave.
|On the pavement here—and there beyond, it is looking,|
2 Lo! the moon ascending!
|Up from the east, the silvery round moon;|
Immense and silent moon.
|Beautiful over the house-tops, ghastly, phantom moon;|
3 I see a sad procession,
|And I hear the sound of coming full-key'd bugles;|
As with voices and with tears.
|All the channels of the city streets they're flooding,|
4 I hear the great drums pounding,
|And the small drums steady whirring;|
Strikes me through and through.
|And every blow of the great convulsive drums,|
5 For the son is brought with the father;
|(In the foremost ranks of the fierce assault they fell;|
And the double grave awaits them.)
|Two veterans, son and father, dropt together,|
6 Now nearer blow the bugles,
|And the drums strike more convulsive;|
And the strong dead-march enwraps me.
|And the day-light o'er the pavement quite has faded,|
View Page 22b
7 In the eastern sky up-buoying,
|The sorrowful vast phantom moves illumin'd;|
In heaven brighter growing.)
|('T is some mother's large, transparent face,|
8 O strong dead-march, you please me!
|O moon immense, with your silvery face you soothe me!|
What I have I also give you.
|O my soldiers twain! O my veterans, passing to burial!|
9 The moon gives you light,
|And the bugles and the drums give you music;|
My heart gives you love.
|And my heart, O my soldiers, my veterans,|