"When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d" by Walt Whitman

Whitman wrote this elegy, or poem of mourning, in response to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

Here are links to our lists for other poems by Walt Whitman: Song of Myself, O Captain! My Captain!, A Noiseless Patient Spider
Read more...

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. trinity
    three people considered as a unit
    Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring,
    Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west,
    And thought of him I love.
  2. perennial
    lasting three seasons or more
    Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring,
    Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west,
    And thought of him I love.
  3. sprig
    a small branch or stem, usually with leaves or flowers
    In the dooryard fronting an old farm-house near the white-wash’d palings,
    Stands the lilac-bush tall-growing with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
    With many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I love,
    With every leaf a miracle—and from this bush in the dooryard,
    With delicate-color’d blossoms and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
    A sprig with its flower I break.
  4. warble
    sing or play with trills
    In the swamp in secluded recesses,
    A shy and hidden bird is warbling a song.
  5. hermit
    one who lives in solitude
    Solitary the thrush,
    The hermit withdrawn to himself, avoiding the settlements,
    Sings by himself a song.
  6. shroud
    burial garment in which a corpse is wrapped
    Passing the yellow-spear’d wheat, every grain from its shroud in the dark-brown fields uprisen,
    Passing the apple-tree blows of white and pink in the orchards,
    Carrying a corpse to where it shall rest in the grave,
    Night and day journeys a coffin.
  7. pomp
    ceremonial elegance and splendor
    Coffin that passes through lanes and streets,
    Through day and night with the great cloud darkening the land,
    With the pomp of the inloop’d flags with the cities draped in black
  8. procession
    the action of a group moving ahead in regular formation
    With the show of the States themselves as of crape-veil’d women standing,
    With processions long and winding and the flambeaus of the night,
    With the countless torches lit, with the silent sea of faces and the unbared heads
  9. somber
    grave or even gloomy in character
    With the waiting depot, the arriving coffin, and the sombre faces,
    With dirges through the night, with the thousand voices rising strong and solemn,
    With all the mournful voices of the dirges pour’d around the coffin
  10. dirge
    a song or hymn of mourning as a memorial to a dead person
    With the waiting depot, the arriving coffin, and the sombre faces,
    With dirges through the night, with the thousand voices rising strong and solemn,
    With all the mournful voices of the dirges pour’d around the coffin
  11. solemn
    dignified and somber in manner or character
    With the waiting depot, the arriving coffin, and the sombre faces,
    With dirges through the night, with the thousand voices rising strong and solemn,
    With all the mournful voices of the dirges pour’d around the coffin
  12. toll
    ring slowly
    With the tolling tolling bells’ perpetual clang,
    Here, coffin that slowly passes,
    I give you my sprig of lilac.
  13. woe
    misery resulting from affliction
    As the night advanced, and I saw on the rim of the west how full you were of woe
  14. bashful
    self-consciously timid
    Sing on there in the swamp,
    O singer bashful and tender, I hear your notes, I hear your call,
    I hear, I come presently, I understand you,
    But a moment I linger, for the lustrous star has detain’d me,
    The star my departing comrade holds and detains me.
  15. presently
    in the near future
    Sing on there in the swamp,
    O singer bashful and tender, I hear your notes, I hear your call,
    I hear, I come presently, I understand you,
    But a moment I linger, for the lustrous star has detain’d me,
    The star my departing comrade holds and detains me.
  16. lucid
    transmitting light; able to be seen through with clarity
    Pictures of growing spring and farms and homes,
    With the Fourth-month eve at sundown, and the gray smoke lucid and bright,
    With floods of the yellow gold of the gorgeous, indolent, sinking sun, burning, expanding the air,
    With the fresh sweet herbage under foot, and the pale green leaves of the trees prolific
  17. indolent
    disinclined to work or exertion
    Pictures of growing spring and farms and homes,
    With the Fourth-month eve at sundown, and the gray smoke lucid and bright,
    With floods of the yellow gold of the gorgeous, indolent, sinking sun, burning, expanding the air,
    With the fresh sweet herbage under foot, and the pale green leaves of the trees prolific
  18. prolific
    bearing in abundance especially offspring
    Pictures of growing spring and farms and homes,
    With the Fourth-month eve at sundown, and the gray smoke lucid and bright,
    With floods of the yellow gold of the gorgeous, indolent, sinking sun, burning, expanding the air,
    With the fresh sweet herbage under foot, and the pale green leaves of the trees prolific
  19. range
    extend over or occupy a certain area
    In the distance the flowing glaze, the breast of the river, with a wind-dapple here and there,
    With ranging hills on the banks, with many a line against the sky, and shadows
  20. spire
    a tall tower that forms the superstructure of a building
    Lo, body and soul—this land,
    My own Manhattan with spires, and the sparkling and hurrying tides, and the ships,
    The varied and ample land, the South and the North in the light, Ohio’s shores and flashing Missouri,
    And ever the far-spreading prairies cover’d with grass and corn.
  21. haughty
    having or showing arrogant superiority
    Lo, the most excellent sun so calm and haughty,
    The violet and purple morn with just-felt breezes,
    The gentle soft-born measureless light,
    The miracle spreading bathing all, the fulfill’d noon,
    The coming eve delicious, the welcome night and the stars,
    Over my cities shining all, enveloping man and land.
  22. reedy
    thin and high-pitched in tone
    Sing on dearest brother, warble your reedy song,
    Loud human song, with voice of uttermost woe.
  23. minutia
    a small or minor detail
    I saw the ships how they sail’d,
    And the summer approaching with richness, and the fields all busy with labor,
    And the infinite separate houses, how they all went on, each with its meals and minutia of daily usages
  24. undulate
    move in a wavy pattern or with a rising and falling motion
    Come lovely and soothing death,
    Undulate round the world, serenely arriving, arriving,
    In the day, in the night, to all, to each,
    Sooner or later delicate death.
  25. serene
    not agitated
    Come lovely and soothing death,
    Undulate round the world, serenely arriving, arriving,
    In the day, in the night, to all, to each,
    Sooner or later delicate death.
  26. unfaltering
    marked by firm determination or resolution; not shakable
    Then I chant it for thee, I glorify thee above all,
    I bring thee a song that when thou must indeed come, come unfalteringly.
  27. serenade
    a musical composition in several movements
    From me to thee glad serenades,
    Dances for thee I propose saluting thee, adornments and feastings
    for thee,
    And the sights of the open landscape and the high-spread sky are
    fitting,
    And life and the fields, and the huge and thoughtful night.
  28. adornment
    a decoration that is added to relieve plainness
    From me to thee glad serenades,
    Dances for thee I propose saluting thee, adornments and feastings for thee,
    And the sights of the open landscape and the high-spread sky are fitting,
    And life and the fields, and the huge and thoughtful night.
  29. myriad
    too numerous to be counted
    Over the tree-tops I float thee a song,
    Over the rising and sinking waves, over the myriad fields and the prairies wide,
    Over the dense-pack’d cities all and the teeming wharves and ways,
    I float this carol with joy, with joy to thee O death.
  30. teeming
    abundantly filled with especially living things
    Over the tree-tops I float thee a song,
    Over the rising and sinking waves, over the myriad fields and the prairies wide,
    Over the dense-pack’d cities all and the teeming wharves and ways,
    I float this carol with joy, with joy to thee O death.
  31. panorama
    a picture representing a continuous scene
    While my sight that was bound in my eyes unclosed,
    As to long panoramas of visions.
  32. hither
    to this place
    And I saw askant the armies,
    I saw as in noiseless dreams hundreds of battle-flags,
    Borne through the smoke of the battles and pierc’d with missiles I saw them,
    And carried hither and yon through the smoke, and torn and bloody,
    And at last but a few shreds left on the staffs, (and all in silence,)
    And the staffs all splinter’d and broken.
  33. musing
    deeply or seriously thoughtful
    But I saw they were not as was thought,
    They themselves were fully at rest, they suffer’d not,
    The living remain’d and suffer’d, the mother suffer’d,
    And the wife and the child and the musing comrade suffer’d,
    And the armies that remain’d suffer’d.
  34. commune
    communicate intimately with
    I cease from my song for thee,
    From my gaze on thee in the west, fronting the west, communing with thee,
    O comrade lustrous with silver face in the night.
  35. countenance
    the appearance conveyed by a person's face
    Yet each to keep and all, retrievements out of the night,
    The song, the wondrous chant of the gray-brown bird,
    And the tallying chant, the echo arous’d in my soul,
    With the lustrous and drooping star with the countenance full of woe

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.