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Are you whispering it, and have been all the time, you

sea-waves ? Is that it from your liquid rims and wet sands ?"


Whereto answering, the sea,
Delaying not, hurrying not,
Whispered me through the night, and very plainly be-

fore daybreak,
Lisped to me the low and delicious word “ Death”;
And again Death-ever Death, Death, Death,
Hissing melodious, neither like the bird, nor like my

aroused child's heart, But edging near, as privately for me, rustling at my

feet, Creeping thence steadily up to my ears, and laving me

softly all over, Death, Death, Death, Death, Death. Which I do not forget, But fuse the song of my dusky dæmon and brother, That he sang to me in the moonlight on Paumanok's

grey beach, With the thousand responsive songs, at random, My own songs, awaked from that hour; And with them the key, the word up from the waves, The word of the sweetest song, and all songs, That strong and delicious word which, creeping to my

feet, The sea whispered me.


TEARS! tears! tears!
In the night, in solitude, tears ;
On the white shore dripping, dripping, sucked in by the

Tears—not a star shining—all dark and desolate;
Moist tears from the eyes of a muffled head :




-O who is that ghost ?—that form in the dark, with

tears? What shapeless lump is that, bent, crouched there on

the sand ? Streaming tears-sobbing tears--throes, choked with

wild cries; O storm, embodied, rising, careering, with swift steps

along the beach ; O wild and dismal night-storm, with wind ! O belching

and desperate! O shade, so sedate and decorous by day, with calm

countenance and regulated pace; But away, at night, as you fly, none looking—0 then

the unloosened ocean Of tears ! tears! tears !

ABOARD, AT A SHIP'S HELM. ABOARD, at a ship’s helm, A young steersman, steering with care. A bell through fog on a sea-coast dolefully ringing, An ocean-bell-0 a warning bell, rocked by the waves. O you give good notice indeed, you bells by the sea-reef

ringing, Ringing, ringing, to warn the ship from its wreck-place. For, as on the alert, O steersman, you mind the bell's

admonition, The bows turn,—the freighted ship, tacking, speeds

away under her grey sails, The beautiful and noble ship, with all her precious

wealth, speeds away gaily and safe. But O the ship, the immortal ship! O ship aboard the

ship! O ship of the body-ship of the soul-voyaging, voyag

ing, voyaging!

WHO LEARNS MY LESSON COMPLETE? Who learns my lesson complete ? Boss, journeyman, apprentice—churchman and atheist, The stupid and the wise thinker-parents and offspring

-merchant, clerk, porter, and customer, Editor, author, artist, and schoolboy-Draw nigh and

commence ; It is no lesson-it lets down the bars to a good lesson, And that to another, and every one to another still. The great laws take and effuse without argument; I am of the same style, for I am their friend, I love them quits and quits—I do not halt, and make


I lie abstracted, and hear beautiful tales of things, and

the reasons of things; They are so beautiful I nudge myself to listen.

I cannot say to any person what I hear–I cannot say

it to myself—it is very wonderful.

It is no small matter, this round and delicious globe,

moving so exactly in its orbit for ever and ever, without one jolt, or the untruth of a single

second; I do not think it was made in six days, nor in ten

thousand years, nor ten billions of years, Nor planned and built one thing after another, as an

architect plans and builds a house. I do not think seventy years is the time of a man or

woman, Nor that seventy millions of years is the time of a man

or woman, Nor that years will ever stop the existence of me, or

any one else.

Is it wonderful that I should be immortal? as every one

is immortal;

I know it is wonderful, but my eyesight is equally won

derful, and how I was conceived in my mother's

womb is equally wonderful ; Ard passed from a babe, in the creeping trance of a

couple of summers and winters, to articulate and

walk-All this is equally wonderful. And that my Soul embraces you this hour, and we affect

each other without ever seeing each other, and never perhaps to see each other, is every bit as

wonderful. And that I can think such thoughts as these is just as

wonderful ; And that I can remind you, and you think them, and

know them to be true, is just as wonderful. And that the moon spins round the earth, and on with

the earth, is equally wonderful, And that they balance themselves with the sun and stars

is equally wonderful.



FROM all the rest I single out you, having a message for

you: You are to die—Let others tell you what they please, I

cannot prevaricate, I am exact and merciless, but I love you—There is no

escape for you.

Softly I lay my right hand upon you—you just feel it,

I I do not argue—I bend my head close, and half envelop

it, I sit quietly by—I remain faithful, I am more than nurse, more than parent or neighbour, I absolve you from all except yourself, spiritual, bodily

—that is eternal:--you yourself will surely escape, The corpse you will leave will be but excrementitious.


The sun bursts through in unlooked-for directions !
Strong thoughts fill you, and confidence--you smile!
You forget you are sick, as I forget you are sick,
You do not see the medicines-you do not mind the

weeping friends—I am with you, I exclude others from you—there is nothing to be com

miserated, I do not commiserate–I congratulate you.



BEAT! beat! drums ! - Blow ! bugles! blow!
Through the windows--through doors—burst like a

ruthless force,
Into the solemn church, and scatter the congregation ;
Into the school where the scholar is studying ;
Leave not the bridegroom quiet-no happiness must he

have now with his bride; Nor the peaceful farmer any peace, ploughing his field

or gathering his grain; So fierce you whirr and pound, you drums—so shrill

you bugles blow.


Beat! beat! drums !— Blow! bugles ! blow!
Over the traffic of cities over the rumble of wheels in

the streets. Are beds prepared for sleepers at night in the houses?

No sleepers must sleep in those beds; No bargainers' bargains by day-no brokers or specu

lators—Would they continue ? Would the talkers be talking? would the singer attempt

to sing? Would the lawyer rise in the court to state his case

before the judge ? Then rattle quicker, heavier, drums—you bugles, wilder


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