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Title: My Departure

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: November 27, 1839

Whitman Archive ID: per.00045

Source: The Long Island Democrat 27 November 1839: 2. Our transcription is based on a photocopy of a microfilm copy of an original issue. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the periodical poems, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang and Susan Belasco


Not in a gorgeous hall of pride,
Mid tears of grief and friendship's sigh,
Would I, when the last hour has come,
Shake of this crumbling flesh and die.
My bed I would not care to have
With rich and costly stuffs hung round;
Nor watched with an officious zeal,
To keep away each jarring sound.
Amidst the thunder crash of war,
Where hovers Death's ensanguined cloud,
And bright swords flash, and banners fly,
Above the sickening sights of blood;
Not there—not there, would I lay down
To sleep with all the firm and brave;
For death in such a scene of strife,
Is not the death that I do crave.
But when the time for my last look
Upon this glorious earth should come,
I'd wish the season warm and mild,
The sun to shine, and flowers bloom.
Just ere the closing of the day,
My dying couch I then would have
Borne out in the refresing air,
Where sweet shrubs grow and proud trees wave.
The still repose would calm my mind,
And lofty branches overhead,
Would throw around this grassy bank,
A cooling and a lovely shade.
At distance through the opening trees,
A bay by misty vapours curled,
I'd gaze upon, and think the haven
For which to leave this fleeting world.
To the wide winds I'd yield my soul,
And die there in that pleasant place,
Looking on water, sun, and hill,
As on their Maker's very face.
I'd want no human being near
But at the setting of the sun,
I'd bid adieu to earth, and step
Down to the Unknown World—alone.


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