When lilacs last in the door-yard bloomd,
And the great star early droopd in the western sky in the night,
I mourndand yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.
ever-returning spring! trinity sure to me you bring;
Lilac blooming perennial, and drooping star in the west,
And thought of him I love.
powerful, western, fallen star!
shades of night! O moody, tearful night!
great star disappeard! O the black murk that hides the star!
cruel hands that hold me powerless! O helpless soul of me!
harsh surrounding cloud, that will not free my soul!
In the door-yard fronting an old farm-house, near the white-washd palings,
Stands the lilac bush, tall-growing, with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
With many a pointed blossom, rising, delicate, with the perfume strong I love,
With every leaf a miracle......and from this bush in the door-yard,
With delicate-colord blossoms, and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
A sprig, with its flower, I break.
In the swamp, in secluded recesses,
A shy and hidden bird is warbling a song.
Solitary, the thrush,
The hermit, withdrawn to himself, avoiding the settlements,
Sings by himself a song.
Song of the bleeding throat!
Deaths outlet song of life(for well, dear brother, I know
If thou wast not gifted to sing, thou wouldst surely die.)
Over the breast of the spring, the land, amid cities,
Amid lanes, and through old woods, (where lately the violets peepd from the ground, spotting the gray debris
Amid the grass in the fields each side of the lanespassing the endless grass;
Passing the yellow-speard wheat, every grain from its shroud in the dark-brown fields uprising;
Passing the apple-tree blows of white and pink in the orchards;
Carrying a corpse to where it shall rest in the grave,
Night and day journeys a coffin.
Coffin that passes through lanes and streets,
Through day and night, with the great cloud darkening the land,
With the pomp of the inloopd flags, with the cities draped in black,
With the show of the States themselves, as of crape-veild women, standing,
With processions long and winding, and the flambeaus of the night,
With the countless torches litwith the silent sea of faces, and the unbared heads,
With the waiting depot, the arriving coffin, and the sombre faces,
With dirges through the night, with the thousand voices rising strong and solemn;
With all the mournful voices of the dirges, pourd around the coffin,
The dim-lit churches and the shuddering organsWhere amid these you journey,
With the tolling, tolling bells perpetual clang;
Here! coffin that slowly passes,
I give you my sprig of lilac.
(Nor for you, for one, alone;
Blossoms and branches green to coffins all I bring:
For fresh as the morningthus would I carol a song for you, O sane and sacred death.
All over bouquets of roses,
death! I cover you over with roses and early lilies;
But mostly and now the lilac that blooms the first,
Copious, I break, I break the sprigs from the bushes;
With loaded arms I come, pouring for you,
For you, and the coffins all of you, O death.)
western orb, sailing the heaven!
Now I know what you must have meant, as a month since we walkd,
As we walkd up and down in the dark blue so mystic,
As we walkd in silence the transparent shadowy night,
As I saw you had something to tell, as you bent to me night after night,
As you droopd from the sky low down, as if to my side, (while the other stars all lookd on
As we wanderd together the solemn night, (for something, I know not what, kept me from slee
As the night advanced, and I saw on the rim of the west, ere you went, how full you were of woe;
As I stood on the rising ground in the breeze, in the cold transparent night,
As I watchd where you passd and was lost in the netherward black of the night,
As my soul, in its trouble, dissatisfied, sank, as where you, sad orb,
Concluded, dropt in the night, and was gone.
Sing on, there in the swamp!
singer bashful and tender! I hear your notesI hear your call;
I hearI come presentlyI understand you;
But a moment I lingerfor the lustrous star has detaind me;
The star, my departing comrade, holds and detains me.
how shall I warble myself for the dead one there I loved?
And how shall I deck my song for the large sweet soul that has gone?
And what shall my perfume be, for the grave of him I love?
Sea-winds, blown from east and west,
Blown from the eastern sea, and blown from the western sea, till there on the prairies meeting:
These, and with these, and the breath of my chant,
I perfume the grave of him I love.
what shall I hang on the chamber walls?
And what shall the pictures be that I hang on the walls,
To adorn the burial-house of him I love?
Pictures of growing spring, and farms, and homes,
With the Fourth-month eve at sundown, and the gray smoke lucid and bright,
With floods of the yellow gold of the gorgeous, indolent, sinking sun, burning, expanding the air;
With the fresh sweet herbage under foot, and the pale green leaves of the trees prolific;
In the distance the flowing glaze, the breast of the river, with a wind-dapple here and there;
With ranging hills on the banks, with many a line against the sky, and shadows;
And the city at hand, with dwellings so dense, and stacks of chimneys,
And all the scenes of life, and the workshops, and the workmen homeward returning.
Lo! body and soul! this land!
Mighty Manhattan, with spires, and the sparkling and hurrying tides, and the ships;
The varied and ample landthe South and the North in the lightOhios shores, and flashing Missouri,
And ever the far-spreading prairies, coverd with grass and corn.
Lo! the most excellent sun, so calm and haughty;
The violet and purple morn, with just-felt breezes;
The gentle, soft-born, measureless light;
The miracle, spreading, bathing allthe fulfilld noon;
The coming eve, deliciousthe welcome night, and the stars,
Over my cities shining all, enveloping man and land.
Sing on! sing on, you gray-brown bird!
Sing from the swamps, the recessespour your chant from the bushes;
Limitless out of the dusk, out of the cedars and pines.
Sing on, dearest brotherwarble your reedy song;
Loud human song, with voice of uttermost woe.
liquid, and free, and tender!
wild and loose to my soul! O wondrous singer!
You only I hear......yet the star holds me, (but will soon depart
Yet the lilac, with mastering odor, holds me.
Now while I sat in the day, and lookd forth,
In the close of the day, with its light, and the fields of spring, and the farmer preparing his crops,
In the large unconscious scenery of my land, with its lakes and forests,
In the heavenly aerial beauty, (after the perturbd winds, and the storms
Under the arching heavens of the afternoon swift passing, and the voices of children and women,
The many-moving sea-tides,and I saw the ships how they saild,
And the summer approaching with richness, and the fields all busy with labor,
And the infinite separate houses, how they all went on, each with its meals and minutia of daily usages;
And the streets, how their throbbings throbbd, and the cities pentlo! then and there,
Falling upon them all, and among them all, enveloping me with the rest,
Appeard the cloud, appeard the long black trail;
And I knew Death, its thought, and the sacred knowledge of death.
Then with the knowledge of death as walking one side of me,
And the thought of death close-walking the other side of me,
And I in the middle, as with companions, and as holding the hands of companions,
I fled forth to the hiding receiving night, that talks not,
Down to the shores of the water, the path by the swamp in the dimness.
To the solemn shadowy cedars, and ghostly pines so still.
And the singer so shy to the rest receivd me;
The gray-brown bird I know, receivd us comrades three;
And he sang what seemd the carol of death, and a verse for him I love.
From deep secluded recesses,
From the fragrant cedars, and the ghostly pines so still,
Came the carol of the bird.
And the charm of the carol rapt me,
As I held, as if by their hands, my comrades in the night;
And the voice of my spirit tallied the song of the bird.