Bivouac on a mountainsideThis picture, aside from the beautiful touches at the close, is to be prized for the record it affords of the large soul of Walt Whitman. He witnessed little of life at the front, but he saw all of the horror of war in the hospitals at Washington, and exhausted his splendid vitality in comforting and aiding the wounded and dying. Yet into his poetry crept no word of bitterness or sectionalism.
I see before me now a traveling army halting,
Below, a fertile valley spread, with barns and the orchards of summer,
Behind, the terraced sides of a mountain, abrupt, in places rising high,
Broken, with rocks, with clinging cedars, with tall shapes dingily seen,
The numerous camp-fires scattered near and far, some away up on the mountain,
The shadowy forms of men and horses, looming, large-sized, flickering,
And over all the sky—the sky! far, far out of reach, studded, breaking out, the eternal stars.