Beat! Beat! Drums!

by WALT WHITMAN (1819-1892)

Beat! beat! drums! blow! bugles! blow!
Through the windows through doors
burst like a ruthless force,
Into the solemn church, and scatter the congregation,
Into the school where the scholar is studying,
Leave not the bridegroom quiet
no happiness must he have now with his bride,
Nor the peaceful farmer any peace,
ploughing his field or gathering his grain,
So fierce you whirr and pound you drums
so shrill you bugles blow.

Beat! beat! drums! blow! bugles! blow!
Over the traffic of cities over the rumble
of wheels in the streets;
Are beds prepared for sleepers at night in the houses?
no sleepers must sleep in those beds,
No bargainers bargains by day no brokers or
speculators would they continue?

Would the talkers be talking? would the singer
attempt to sing?
Would the lawyer rise in the court to state
his case before the judge?
Then rattle quicker, heavier drums you bugles wilder blow.

Beat! beat! drums! blow! bugles! blow!
Make no parley stop for no expostulation,
Mind not the timid mind not the weeper or prayer,
Mind not the old man beseeching the young man,
Let not the child’s voice be heard,
nor the mothers entreaties,
Make even the trestles to shake the dead
where they lie awaiting the hearses,
So strong you thump O terrible drums
so loud you bugles blow.

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman was an American poet, journalist and essayist, best known for LEAVES OF GRASS (1855), which was occasionally banned. Harold Bloom has stated in The Western Canon (1994) that “no Western poet, in the past century and half, not even Browning, or Leopardi or Baudelaire, overshadow Walt Whitman or Emily Dickinson.”

Walt Whitman Contemporaries
Marion Harland
Edward Lear
Emily Dickinson
Lewis Carroll

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