Walt Whitman

Dirge for Two Veterans

1 THE last sunbeam Lightly falls from the finish’d Sabbath, On the pavement here—and there beyond, it is looking, Down a new-made double grave. 2 Lo! the moon ascending! Up from the east, the silvery round moon; Beautiful over the house tops, ghastly phantom moon; Immense and silent moon. 3 I see a sad procession, And I hear the sound of coming full-key’d bugles; All the channels of the city streets they’re flooding, As with voices and with tears. 4 I hear the great drums pounding, And the small drums steady whirring; And every blow of the great convulsive drums, Strikes me through and through. 5 For the son is brought with the father; In the foremost ranks of the fierce assault they fell; Two veterans, son and father, dropt together, And the double grave awaits them. 6 Now nearer blow the bugles, And the drums strike more convulsive; And the day-light o’er the pavement quite has faded, And the strong dead-march enwraps me. 7 In the eastern sky up-buoying, The sorrowful vast phantom moves illumin’d; (’Tis some mother’s large, transparent face, In heaven brighter growing.) 8 O strong dead-march, you please me! O moon immense, with your silvery face you soothe me! O my soldiers twain! O my veterans, passing to burial! What I have I also give you. 9 The moon gives you light, And the bugles and the drums give you music; And my heart, O my soldiers, my veterans, My heart gives you love.

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