Once I pass'd through a populous city, Imprinting my brain with all its shadows. Of that city I remember only a woman, A woman I casually detained, Who detained me for love of me. Day by day and night by night we were together -- all else has been forgotten by me. Again we wander, we love, we separate, Again she holds me by the hand, I must not go. I hear her whisper: I love you, before long I die, I have waited long merely to look on you, For I could not die till I had once looked on you. I see her close beside me with lips sad and tremulous. Along while amid the noises of coming and going, Then we two content, happy in being together, speaking little, Day by day, night by night, together. Behold me when I pass, hear my voice, approach, draw close, but speak not. Be not afraid of me, O you and I, what is to us what the rest do or think? I am she who adorned herself and folded her hair expectantly, My lover has come and it is dark. We two, how long we were fooled, Now transmuted we escape as Nature escapes; We are Nature, long, long have we been absent but now we return. Ah, love and perfect equal! How calm, how solemn it grows to ascend to the sphere of lovers. I ascend, I float in the regions of your love, O man! Ah, love and perfect equal! O power and liberty at last! We two together! Double yourself and receive us, darkness! We two content, happy in being together! This is thy hour O soul, thy free flight into the wordless. Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou lovest best. Night, sleep, death, love and the stars. O to speed where there is space enough and air enough at last! We are two hawks, we soar above and look down. What is all else to us who have voided all but freedom and all but our own joy. As nearing departure, as the time draws nigh, A cloud, a dread beyond I know not what darkens me. Face so pale with wondrous eyes, very dear, gather closer yet. Perfume therefore my chant O love, immortal love. Make me a fountain That I exhale love wherever I go. Sweet are the blooming cheeks of the living. Sweet are the musical voices sounding, But sweet, ah sweet, are the dead With their silent eyes. Dearest comrade all is over and long gone, But love is not over.
Note: this text is assembled from lines from the following poems by Walt Whitman:
- Once I pass'd through a populous city
- A glimpse
- Out of the rolling ocean the crowd
- As Adam, early in the morning
- From pent-up, aching rivers
- We two -- how long we were fool'd!
- Among the men and women the multitude
- Fast anchor'd eternal o Love!
- A clear midnight
- The Sleepers, no. 5
- One hour to madness and joy
- Ashes of soldiers
- As nearing departure
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by Frederick Delius (1862 - 1934), "Idyll", published 1933 [soprano, baritone, and orchestra], London: Hawkes [ sung text verified 1 time]
Researcher for this text: Ahmed E. Ismail
This text was added to the website: 2010-01-31
Line count: 53
Word count: 433