What is the meaning of "inlooped flags" in a poem of Whitman (When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd)? He is describing the Lincoln funeral:

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,
With the show of the States themselves as of crape-veil'd women standing,

Does he mean flags are looped over the coffin and covered it?

1 Answer 1


If you look at some of the pictures from the Funeral you will see that while the flags that are on vertical flag poles are flying at half mast as a mark of respect, flags that are on angled or horizontal poles, eg hanging out over streets, which cannot be 'half masted' are instead 'looped in' at the end so that they do not fly free.

It isn't universal, you will still find flags in the pictures that don't show this, but the funeral car and images from Pennsylvania Avenue and Broadway have examples. You will also see plenty of the black drapery the poem refers to on buildings.

Funeral car Pennysilvania Avenue

  • 2
    Any reason why you didn't include some of the images in your answer? (I was going to edit in one or two images to make your answer clearer and more self-contained, but then wondered if you deliberately didn't put them in.)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Dec 3, 2019 at 20:02
  • Because trying to do that from a phone or a fire walled computer (which is all I have access to right now) is all but impossible! Please feel free to edit
    – Spagirl
    Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 1:23
  • Done :-) I left the images quite big, but if you want to resize them to fit two side-by-side, then I guess you can add [...]m.jpg instead of [...].jpg just by editing manually, without needing to reupload or anything.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 7:58
  • @Randal'Thor many thanks
    – Spagirl
    Commented Dec 5, 2019 at 13:24
  • Just to be sure. In the first picture there are some angled flags around the coffin which are tied at the end. Are they 'inlooped'? Commented Dec 5, 2019 at 21:57

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