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Title: The Love that is Hereafter

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: May 19, 1840

Publication information: The Long Island Democrat 19 May 1840: [1].

Source: Our transcription is based on a photocopy of a microfilm copy of an original issue.

Whitman Archive ID: per.00021

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang and Susan Belasco


THE LOVE THAT IS HEREAFTER

BY W. WHITMAN.
O, beauteous is the earth! and fair
The splendors of Creation are:
Nature's green robe, the shining sky,
The winds that through the tree-tops sigh,
All speak a bounteous God.
The noble trees, the sweet young flowers,
The birds that sing in forest bowers,
The rivers grand that murmuring roll,
And all which joys or calms the soul
Are made by gracious might.
The flocks and droves happy and free,
The dwellers of the boundless sea,
Each living thing on air or land,
Created by our Master's hand,
Is formed for joy and peace.
But man—weak, proud, and erring man,
Of truth ashamed, of folly vain—
Seems singled out to know no rest
And of all things that move, feels least
The sweets of happiness.
Yet he it is whose little life
Is passed in useless, vexing strife,
And all the glorious earth to him
Is rendered dull, and poor, and dim,
From hope unsatisfied.
He faints with grief—he toils through care—
And from the cradle to the bier
He wearily plods on—till Death
Cuts short his transient, panting breath,
And sends him to his sleep.
O, mighty powers of Destiny!
When from this coil of flesh I'm free—
When through my second life I rove,
Let me but find one heart to love,
As I would wish to love:
Let me but meet a single breast,
Where this tired soul its hope may rest,
In never-dying faith: ah, then,
That would be bliss all free from pain,
And sickness of the heart.
For vainly through this world below
We seek affection. Nought but wo
Is with our earthly journey wove;
And so the heart must look above,
Or die in dull despair.

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