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The City Dead-House Analysis

Author: Poetry of Walt Whitman Type: Poetry Views: 330

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BY the City Dead-House, by the gate,

As idly sauntering, wending my way from the clangor,

I curious pause--for lo! an outcast form, a poor dead prostitute


Her corpse they deposit unclaim'd--it lies on the damp brick


The divine woman, her body--I see the Body--I look on it alone,

That house once full of passion and beauty--all else I notice not;

Nor stillness so cold, nor running water from faucet, nor odors

morbific impress me;

But the house alone--that wondrous house--that delicate fair house--

that ruin!

That immortal house, more than all the rows of dwellings ever built!

Or white-domed Capitol itself, with majestic figure surmounted--or

all the old high-spired cathedrals;10

That little house alone, more than them all--poor, desperate house!

Fair, fearful wreck! tenement of a Soul! itself a Soul!

Unclaim'd, avoided house! take one breath from my tremulous lips;

Take one tear, dropt aside as I go, for thought of you,

Dead house of love! house of madness and sin, crumbled! crush'd!

House of life--erewhile talking and laughing--but ah, poor house!

dead, even then;

Months, years, an echoing, garnish'd house--but dead, dead, dead.


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