To Think of Time

To Think of Time


To think of time — of all that retrospection,
To think of to-day, and the ages continued henceforward.

Have you guess'd you yourself would not continue?
Have you dreaded these earth-beetles?
Have you fear'd the future would be nothing to you?

Is to-day nothing? is the beginningless past nothing?
If the future is nothing they are just as surely nothing.

To think that the sun rose in the east — that men and women
     were flexible, real, alive — that every thing was alive,
To think that you and I did not see, feel, think, nor bear our
To think that we are now here and bear our part.


Not a day passes, not a minute or second without an
Not a day passes, not a minute or second without a corpse.

The dull nights go over and the dull days also,
The soreness of lying so much in bed goes over,
The physician after long putting off gives the silent and
    terrible look for an answer,
The children come hurried and weeping, and the brothers
    and sisters are sent for,
Medicines stand unused on the shelf, (the camphor-smell has
    long pervaded the rooms,)
The faithful hand of the living does not desert the hand of the
The twitching lips press lightly on the forehead of the dying,
The breath ceases and the pulse of the heart ceases,
The corpse stretches on the bed and the living look upon it,
It is palpable as the living are palpable.

The living look upon the corpse with their eyesight,
But without eyesight lingers a different living and looks
    curiously on the corpse.


To think the thought of death merged in the thought of
To think of all these wonders of city and country, and others
    taking great interest in them, and we taking no interest
    in them.

To think how eager we are in building our houses,
To think others shall be just as eager, and we quite

(I see one building the house that serves him a few years, or
    seventy or eighty years at most,
I see one building the house that serves him longer than that.)

Slow-moving and black lines creep over the whole earth —
    they never cease — they are the burial lines,
He that was President was buried, and he that is now President
    shall surely be buried.


A reminiscence of the vulgar fate,
A frequent sample of the life and death of workmen,
Each after his kind.

Cold dash of waves at the ferry-wharf, posh and ice in the
    river, half-frozen mud in the streets,
A gray discouraged sky overhead, the short last daylight of
A hearse and stages, the funeral of an old Broadway stagedriver,
    the cortege mostly drivers.

Steady the trot to the cemetery, duly rattles the death-bell,
The gate is pass'd, the new-dug grave is halted at, the living
    alight, the hearse uncloses,
The coffin is pass'd out, lower'd and settled, the whip is laid
    on the coffin, the earth is swiftly shovel'd in,
The mound above is flatted with the spades — silence,
A minute — no one moves or speaks — it is done,
He is decently put away — is there any thing more?

He was a good fellow, free-mouth'd, quick-temper'd, not
Ready with life or death for a friend, fond of women, gambled,
    ate hearty, drank hearty,
Had known what it was to be flush, grew low-spirited toward
    the last, sicken'd, was help'd by a contribution,
Died, aged forty-one years — and that was his funeral.

Thumb extended, finger uplifted, apron, cape, gloves, strap,
    wet-weather clothes, whip carefully chosen,
Boss, spotter, starter, hostler, somebody loafing on you, you
    loafing on somebody, headway, man before and

  By PanEris using Melati.

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