As Toilsome I Wander'd Virginia's Woods


As toilsome I wander'd Virginia's woods,
To the music of rustling leaves kick'd by my feet, (for ‘twas autumn)
I mark'd at the foot of a tree the grave of a soldier;
Mortally wounded he and buried on the retreat, (easily all could I understand,)
The halt of a mid-day hour, when up! no time to lose–yet this sign left,
On a tablet scrawl'd and nail'd on the tree by the grave,
Bold, cautious, true, and my loving comrade.

Long, long I muse, then on my way go wandering,
Many a changeful season to follow, and many a scene of life,
Yet at times through changeful season and scene, abrupt, alone, or in the
        crowded street,
Comes before me the unknown soldier's grave, comes the inscription rude in
        Virginia's woods,
Bold, cautious, true, and my loving comrade.


Walt Whitman.