The Patriotic Poems of Walt Whitman

The Patriotic Poems of Walt Whitman

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The Patriotic Poems of Walt Whitman by Walt Whitman

Published:

1855

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The Patriotic Poems of Walt Whitman

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Book Excerpt

through the sunshine and darken'd me, Must I change my triumphant songs? said I to myself,
Must I indeed learn to chant the cold dirges of the baffled, And sullen hymns of defeat?

FIRST O SONGS FOR A PRELUDE

First O songs for a prelude,
Lightly strike on the stretch'd tympanum pride and joy in my city, How she led the rest to arms, how she gave the cue,
How at once with lithe limbs unwaiting a moment she sprang, (O superb! O Manhattan, my own, my peerless.
O strongest you in the hour of danger, in crisis! O truer than steel!) How you sprang--how you threw off the costumes of peace with

indifferent hand,
How your soft opera-music changed, and the drum and fife were heard in

their stead,
How you led to the war (that shall serve for our prelude, songs of

soldiers),
How Manhattan drum-taps led.

Forty years had I in my city seen soldiers parading,
Forty years as a pageant, till unawares the lady of this teeming and

tu

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