Weekly Whitman: Hush’d Be The Camps Today

Walt Whitman was temporarily consumed with the assassination of President Lincoln, whom he felt to be the embodiment of the Union values he held so dear. He knew first-hand that the Northern troops who had so recently ended a long and deadly war were affected deeply. His poem “Hush’d Be the Camps Today” honors the love and respect the Union armies felt toward their leader.

Hush’d Be the Camps Today

Hush’d be the camps today,
And soldiers let us drape our war-worn weapons,
And each with musing soul retire to celebrate,
Our dear commander’s death.

No more for him life’s stormy conflicts,
Nor victory, nor defeat–no more time’s dark events,
Charging like ceaseless clouds across the sky.

But sing poet in our name,
Sing of the love we bore him–because you, dweller in camps, know it truly.

As they invault the coffin there,
Sing–as they close the doors of earth upon him–one verse,
For the heavy hearts of soldiers.

Union Army camp near the end of the war


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