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(To accompany a picture; by request.) NAY, do not dream, designer dark, Thou hast portray'd or hit thy theme entire: I, hoverer of late by this dark valley, by its confines, having glimpses of it, Here enter lists with thee, claiming my right to make a symbol too. For I have seen many wounded soldiers die, After dread suffering—have seen their lives pass off with smiles; And I have watch'd the death-hours of the old; and seen the infant die; The rich, with all his nurses and his doctors; And then the poor, in meagreness and poverty; And I myself for long, O Death, have breathed my every breath Amid the nearness and the silent thought of thee. And out of these and thee, I make a scene, a song, brief (not fear of thee, Nor gloom's ravines, nor bleak, nor dark—for I do not fear thee, Nor celebrate the struggle, or contortion, or hard-tied knot), Of the broad blessed light and perfect air, with meadows, rippling tides, and trees 
  and flowers and grass,
And the low hum of living breeze—and in the midst God's beautiful eternal right 
Thee, holiest minister of Heaven—thee, envoy, usherer, guide at last of all, Rich, florid, loosener of the stricture-knot call'd life, Sweet, peaceful, welcome Death.


1. Reprinted in Leaves of Grass (1897). [back]

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