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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

Whispers of Heavenly Death

By Walt Whitman (1819–1892)

[Leaves of Grass. 1855.—Leaves of Grass, and Two Rivulets: Centennial Edition. 1876.—Leaves of Grass: with additions. 1881.—November Boughs. 1888.—Complete Works. 1888.]

WHISPERS of heavenly death murmur’d I hear,

Labial gossip of night, sibilant chorals,

Footsteps gently ascending, mystical breezes wafted soft and low,

Ripples of unseen rivers, tides of a current flowing, forever flowing,

(Or is it the plashing of tears? the measureless waters of human tears?)

I see, just see skyward, great cloud-masses,

Mournfully, slowly they roll, silently swelling and mixing,

With at times a half-dimm’d sadden’d far-off star,

Appearing and disappearing.

(Some parturition rather, some solemn immortal birth;

On the frontiers to eyes impenetrable,

Some soul is passing over.)