to spend his strength as an army hospital nurse.
He wrote Drum Taps
and other magnificent poems about the War
, culminating in his threnody on Lincoln
's death, When Lilacs last in the Dooryard Bloomed
called this “the most sonorous nocturn ever chanted in the church of the world.”
After the war had ended, Whitman
stayed on in Washington
as a government clerk, and saw much of John Burroughs
and W. D. O'Connor
was a staunch friend.
Some of the best known poets and critics of England
and the Continent now began to recognize his genius.
But his health had been permanently shattered by his heroic service as a nurse, and in 1873 he suffered a paralytic stroke which forced him to resign his position in Washington
and remove to his brother's home in Camden, New Jersey
He was only fifty-four, but his best work was already done, and his remaining years,.until his death in 1892, were those of patient and serene invalidism.
He wrote some fascinating prose in this final period, and his cluttered chamber in Camden
became the shrine of many a literary pilgrim, among them some of the foremost men of letters of this country and of Europe