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Hymn of Dead Soldiers


1 ONE breath, O my silent soul, A perfum'd thought—no more I ask, for the sake of all  
 dead soldiers.
2Buglers off in my armies! At present I ask not you to sound; Not at the head of my cavalry, all on their spirited  
With their sabres drawn and glist'ning, and carbines  
 clanking by their thighs—(ah, my brave horse- 
My handsome, tan-faced horsemen! what life, what joy  
 and pride,
With all the perils, were yours!)
3Nor you drummers—neither at reveille, at dawn, Nor the long roll alarming the camp—nor even the  
 muffled beat for a burial;
Nothing from you, this time, O drummers, bearing my  
 warlike drums.
4But aside from these, and the crowd's hurrahs, and  
 the land's congratulations,
Admitting around me comrades close, unseen by the  
 the rest, and voiceless,
I chant this chant of my silent soul, in the name of all  
 dead soldiers.
5Faces so pale, with wondrous eyes, very dear, gather  
 closer yet;
Draw close, but speak not.
  [ begin page 60a ]ppp.00473.398.jpg 6Phantoms, welcome, divine and tender! Invisible to the rest, henceforth become my compan- 
Follow me ever! desert me not, while I live.
7Sweet are the blooming cheeks of the living! sweet  
 are the musical voices sounding!
But sweet, ah sweet, are the dead, with their silent eyes.
8Dearest comrades! all now is over; But love is not over—and what love, O comrades! Perfume from battle-fields rising—up from fœtor  
9Perfume therefore my chant, O love! immortal Love! Give me to bathe the memories of all dead soldiers. 10Perfume all! make all wholesome! O love! O chant! solve all with the last chemistry. 11Give me exhaustless—make me a fountain, That I exhale love from me wherever I go, For the sake of all dead soldiers.
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