Published Works

Books by Whitman

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [begin page 14b] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



SPIRIT whose work is done! spirit of dreadful hours!
Ere, departing, fade from my eyes your forests of bayonets;
Spirit of gloomiest fears and doubts, (yet onward ever unfal-
tering pressing;)
Spirit of many a solemn day, and many a savage scene!
Electric spirit!
That with muttering voice, through the years now closed,
like a tireless phantom flitted,
Rousing the land with breath of flame, while you beat and
beat the drum;
—Now, as the sound of the drum, hollow and harsh to the
last, reverberates round me;
As your ranks, your immortal ranks, return, return from
the battles;
While the muskets of the young men yet lean over their
While I look on the bayonets bristling over their shoulders;
While those slanted bayonets, whole forests of them, ap-
pearing in the distance, approach and pass on, re-
turning homeward,
Moving with steady motion, swaying to and fro, to the right
and left,
Evenly, lightly rising and falling, as the steps keep time:
—Spirit of hours I knew, all hectic red one day, but pale as
death next day;
Touch my mouth, ere you depart—press my lips close!
Leave me your pulses of rage! bequeath them to me! fill
me with currents convulsive!
Let them scorch and blister out of my chants, when you are
Let them identify you to the future in these songs.


Published Works | In Whitman's Hand | Life & Letters | Commentary | Resources | Pictures & Sound

Support the Archive | About the Archive

Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Matt Cohen, Ed Folsom, & Kenneth M. Price, editors.