Walt Whitman: Poems

Drum Taps: A Grave


As toilsome I wandered Virginia's woods,

To the music of rustling leaves kicked by my feet--for 'twas autumn--

I marked at the foot of a tree the grave of a soldier;

Mortally wounded he, and buried on the retreat--easily all could I


The halt of a mid-day hour--when, Up! no time to lose! Yet this sign left

On a tablet scrawled and nailed on the tree by the grave,

_Bold, cautious, true, and my loving comrade_.


Long, long I muse,--then on my way go wandering,

Many a changeful season to follow, and many a scene of life.

Yet at times through changeful season and scene, abrupt,--alone, or in the

crowded street,--

Comes before me the unknown soldier's grave, comes the inscription rude in

Virginia's woods,

_Bold, cautious, true, and my loving comrade_.