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- Whitman, Walt, 1819-1892.
[Manuscript] 1887 "As the Greek's signal flame." / Walt Whitman.
As the Greek's signal flame by antique records told,
(Tally of many a hard strain'd battle, struggle, year-triumphant only at the last)
Rose from the hill-top like applause and glory,
Welcoming in fame some special veteran, patriot, hero
With rosy tinge reddening the land he'd served.
So I aloft from Mannahatta's ship-fringed shore,
Lift high a kindled brand for thee Old Poet.
Whitman began his literary career as a journalist and was living in New York while working on the first edition of Leaves of Grass, his collection of poetry which appeared first in 1855 but which he revised and supplemented through 1892. During the Civil War he worked as nurse in the hospitals (1862-64), an experience which inspired much of his poetry; he also worked as a Clerk in the Department of the Interior in 1865 but was dismissed due to the content of his poetry. He next worked in the Attorney General's office as a clerk (1865-73) until he suffered from paralysis and went to Camden, New Jersey to live with his brother and to receive visitors including Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, and others. His well known verses include "Song of Myself," "I Sing the Body Electric," and "O Captain! My Captain!" an elegy he wrote on the passing of Lincoln.
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