Published Works


About this Item

Title: The Singing Thrush

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: March 15, 1873

Whitman Archive ID: per.00129

Source: New York Daily Graphic 15 March 1873: 2. 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

image 1



Wandering at morn,
Emerging from the night, from the gloomy thoughts—
thee in my thoughts,
Yearning for thee, harmonious Union! thee, Singing
Bird divine!
Thee, seated coil'd in evil times, my country, with
craft and black dismay—with every meanness,
treason thrust upon thee;
—Wandering—this common marvel I beheld—the
parent thrush I watched, feeding its young,
(The singing thrush, whose tones of joy and faith
Fail not to certify and cheer my soul.
There felt I, saw I,
If worms, snakes, loathsome grubs, may to sweet
spiritual songs be turn'd,
If vermin so transposed, so used, so bless'd may be,
Then may I trust in you, your States, my country;
—Who knows but these may be the lessons fit for
Who knows—perhaps the diet fit to-day for you?
These, these, to-day for your preparing nest, O
Union! even from these,
From these your future song may rise, with joyous
Destin'd to fill the world.
Washington, March 10.


1. Reprinted as "Wandering at Morn" in Two Rivulets (1876). [back]


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.