Walt Whitman: To Think of Time, Part 4
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 December,
A hearse and stages, the funeral of an old Broadway stage-driver,
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 bad-looking,
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 man behind,
Good day's work, bad day's work, pet stock, mean stock, first out,
last out, turning-in at night,
To think that these are so much and so nigh to other drivers, and he
there takes no interest in them.