by Walt Whitman (1819 - 1892)

To one shortly to die 
Language: English 
 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 do not argue -- I bend my head close, and half envelope it,
 I sit quietly by -- I remain faithful,
 I am more than nurse, more than parent or neighbor,
 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 commiserated,
 I do not commiserate -- I congratulate you.


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2013-12-08
Line count: 18
Word count: 173