by Walt Whitman (1819 - 1892)

The last sunbeam
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE
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. 

   Lo, the moon ascending,
Up from the east the silvery round moon,
Beautiful over the house-tops, ghastly, phantom moon,
   Immense and silent moon. 

   I see a sad procession,
And I hear the sound of coming full-key'd bugles,
All the channels of the city streets they are flooding,
   As with voices and with tears. 

   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. 

   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.) 

   And nearer blow the bugles,
And the drums strike more convulsive,
And the daylight o'er the pavement quite has faded,
   And the strong dead-march enwraps me. 

   In the eastern sky up-buoying,
The sorrowful vast phantom moves illumin'd,
('Tis some mother's large transparent face,
   In heaven brighter growing.) 

   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. 

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

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:55
Line count: 36
Word count: 240