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Title: Time to Come

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: April 9, 1842

Publication information: The New York Aurora 9 April 1842: [1].

Source: Our transcription is based on a digital image of an original issue.

Whitman Archive ID: per.00057

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang and Susan Belasco




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From the Democratic Review.

Time to Come.1

BY WALTER WHITMAN.
O, Death! a black and pierceless pall
Hangs round thee, and the future state;
No eye may see, no mind may grasp
That mystery of Fate.
This brain, which now alternate throbs
With swelling hope and gloomy fear;
This heart, with all the changing hues,
That mortal passions bear—
This curious frame of human mould,
Where unrequited cravings play,
This brain, and heart, and wondrous form
Must all alike decay.
The leaping blood wili stop its flow;2
The hoarse death-struggle pass; the cheek
Lay bloomless, and the liquid tongue
Will then forget to speak.
The grave will take me; earth will close
O'er cold dull limbs and ashy face;
But where, O, Nature, where shall be
The soul's abiding place?
Will it e'en live? for though its light
Must shine till from the body torn;
Then, when the oil of life is spent,
Still shall the taper burn?
O, powerless is this struggling brain
To rend the mighty mystery;
In dark, uncertain awe it waits
The common doom, to die.

Notes:

1. Revised version of "Our Future Lot," which first appeared in the Long-Islander sometime before 31 October 1838 (the relevant copies of the Long-Islander are no longer extant). More specific information about the Long-Islander printing is unknown at this time. "Our Future Lot" was reprinted in the Long Island Democrat on 31 October 1838. When published as "Time to Come" in the Aurora, the poem appeared with the notation "From the Democratic Review." To date, however, we have not been able to verify that it was published there. [back]

2. The word "wili" should read "will." [back]


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