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Title: As One by One Withdraw the Lofty Actors

Date: May 16, 1885

Publication information: Harper's Weekly 4 (16 May 1885): 310.

Source: Our transcription is based on a digital image of an original issue.

Whitman Archive ID: per.00025




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cropped image 1

AS ONE BY ONE WITHDRAW THE LOFTY ACTORS.1

I.

AS one by one withdraw the lofty actors
From that great play on history's stage eterne,
That lurid, partial act of war and peace—of old
and new contending,
Fought out through wrath, fears, dark dismays,
and many a long suspense,
All past—and since, in countless graves reced-
ing, mellowing,
Victor's and vanquish'd—Lincoln's and Lee's—
now thou with them,
Man of the mighty days—and equal to the days!
Thou from the prairies!—tangled and many-
vein'd and hard has been thy part,
To admiration has it been enacted!

II.

And still shall be; resume again, thou hero
heart!
Strengthen to firmest day, O rosy dawn of hope!
Thou dirge I started first, to joyful shout reverse!
and thou, O grave,
Wait long and long!
WALT WHITMAN.

Notes:

1. Reprinted as "Grant" in Critic 7 (15 August 1885): 80; and revised as "Death of General Grant" in the "Sands at Seventy" annex to Leaves of Grass (1888). [back]


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