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Title: Over and through the burial chant

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: August 12, 1888

Whitman Archive ID: per.00086

Source: New York Herald 12 August 1888: 7. Our transcription is based on a digital image 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, April Lambert, and Susan Belasco

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Over and through the burial chant,1
Organ and solemn service, sermon, bending priests,
To me come interpolation sounds not in the show—
plainly to me, crowding up the aisle and from
the window,
Of sudden battle's hurry and harsh noises—war's,
war's grim game to sight and ear in earnest;
The scout call'd up and forward—the General
mounted and his aides around him—the new
brought word—the instantaneous order issued;
The rifle crack—the cannon thud—the rushing forth
of men from their tents;
The clank of cavalry—the strange celerity of form-
ing ranks—the slender bugle note;
The sound of horses' hoofs departing—saddles,
arms, accoutrements.


1. Reprinted as "Interpolation Sounds" in Good-Bye My Fancy (1891). This poem appeared in the Herald four days after Whitman's short prose tribute to General Philip K. Sheridan, a Union general during the Civil War, and the fourth four-star general of the United States. When reprinted in "Good-Bye My Fancy," the poem included the note, "General Sheridan was buried at the Cathedral, Washington, D.C. August, 1888, with all the pomp, music and ceremonies of the Roman Catholic service." [back]


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