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Walt Whitman - Drum-Taps.

1
FIRST, O songs, for a prelude, 
Lightly strike on the stretch’d tympanum, pride and joy in my city, 
How she led the rest to arms—how she gave the cue, 
How at once with lithe limbs, unwaiting a moment, she sprang; 
(O superb! O Manhattan, my own, my peerless!
O strongest you in the hour of danger, in crisis! O truer than steel!) 
How you sprang! how you threw off the costumes of peace with indifferent hand; 
How your soft opera-music changed, and the drum and fife were heard in their stead; 
How you led to the war, (that shall serve for our prelude, songs of soldiers,) 
How Manhattan drum-taps led.
  
2
Forty years had I in my city seen soldiers parading; 
Forty years as a pageant—till unawares, the Lady of this teeming and turbulent city, 
Sleepless amid her ships, her houses, her incalculable wealth, 
With her million children around her—suddenly, 
At dead of night, at news from the south,
Incens’d, struck with clench’d hand the pavement. 
  
A shock electric—the night sustain’d it; 
Till with ominous hum, our hive at day-break pour’d out its myriads. 
  
From the houses then, and the workshops, and through all the doorways, 
Leapt they tumultuous—and lo! Manhattan arming.
  
3
To the drum-taps prompt, 
The young men falling in and arming; 
The mechanics arming, (the trowel, the jack-plane, the blacksmith’s hammer, tost
    aside
	with
	precipitation;) 
The lawyer leaving his office, and arming—the judge leaving the court; 
The driver deserting his wagon in the street, jumping down, throwing the reins abruptly
    down on
	the
	horses’ backs;
The salesman leaving the store—the boss, book-keeper, porter, all leaving; 
Squads gather everywhere by common consent, and arm; 
The new recruits, even boys—the old men show them how to wear their
	accoutrements—they
	buckle the straps carefully; 
Outdoors arming—indoors arming—the flash of the musket-barrels; 
The white tents cluster in camps—the arm’d sentries around—the sunrise
    cannon,
	and
	again at sunset;
Arm’d regiments arrive every day, pass through the city, and embark from the wharves;
    
(How good they look, as they tramp down to the river, sweaty, with their guns on their
	shoulders! 
How I love them! how I could hug them, with their brown faces, and their clothes and
    knapsacks
	cover’d with dust!) 
The blood of the city up—arm’d! arm’d! the cry everywhere; 
The flags flung out from the steeples of churches, and from all the public buildings and
	stores;
The tearful parting—the mother kisses her son—the son kisses his mother; 
(Loth is the mother to part—yet not a word does she speak to detain him;) 
The tumultuous escort—the ranks of policemen preceding, clearing the way; 
The unpent enthusiasm—the wild cheers of the crowd for their favorites; 
The artillery—the silent cannons, bright as gold, drawn along, rumble lightly over
    the
	stones;
(Silent cannons—soon to cease your silence! 
Soon, unlimber’d, to begin the red business;) 
All the mutter of preparation—all the determin’d arming; 
The hospital service—the lint, bandages, and medicines; 
The women volunteering for nurses—the work begun for, in earnest—no mere parade
    now;
War! an arm’d race is advancing!—the welcome for battle—no turning away; 
War! be it weeks, months, or years—an arm’d race is advancing to welcome it. 
  
4
Mannahatta a-march!—and it’s O to sing it well! 
It’s O for a manly life in the camp! 
And the sturdy artillery!
The guns, bright as gold—the work for giants—to serve well the guns: 
Unlimber them! no more, as the past forty years, for salutes for courtesies merely; 
Put in something else now besides powder and wadding. 
  
5
And you, Lady of Ships! you Mannahatta! 
Old matron of this proud, friendly, turbulent city!
Often in peace and wealth you were pensive, or covertly frown’d amid all your
    children; 
But now you smile with joy, exulting old Mannahatta!

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Added: Feb 7 2004 | Viewed: 352 times | Comments and analysis of Drum-Taps. by Walt Whitman Comments (3)

Drum-Taps. - Comments and Information

Poet: Walt Whitman
Poem: 1. Drum-Taps.
Volume: Leaves of Grass
- 8. Drum-Taps
Year: Published/Written in 1900
Poem of the Day: Oct 16 2006

Comment 3 of 3, added on January 16th, 2013 at 5:10 PM.
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Nice Fred.I tried your avocado sheaks. They are very yummy. And with the addition of a little fruit it is perfect for people who are new to the idea of a green smoothie. Sometimes I make a much more savoury version even with addition of turmeric.Nice also how you get into detail for picking a good avocado. That process becomes intuitive after a while I find.Ruth

Georges from Ireland
Comment 2 of 3, added on January 18th, 2007 at 7:42 PM.

this poem is very good. It explains how the people of manhatten drop all there work to fight for the war even boys. Whitman is a marvelous poet.

goldglover from United States
Comment 1 of 3, added on September 17th, 2005 at 2:29 PM.

i thought that this was a ver good poem and hey im the first to post somthing on this poem YEA!!!

SBttr9

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