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9.

1THERE was a child went forth every day,
And the first object he looked upon and received
with wonder, pity, love, or dread, that object he
became,
And that object became part of him for the day, or a
certain part of the day, or for many years, or
stretching cycles of years.

2The early lilacs became part of this child,
And grass, and white and red morning-glories, and
white and red clover, and the song of the phœbe-
bird,
And the Third Month lambs, and the sow's pink-faint
litter, and the mare's foal, and the cow's calf,
And the noisy brood of the barn-yard, or by the mire
of the pond-side,
And the fish suspending themselves so curiously below
there—and the beautiful curious liquid,
And the water-plants with their graceful flat heads—
all became part of him.

3The field-sprouts of Fourth Month and Fifth Month
became part of him,
Winter-grain sprouts, and those of the light-yellow
corn, and the esculent roots of the garden,
And the apple-trees covered with blossoms, and the
fruit afterward, and wood-berries, and the com-
monest weeds by the road;


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And the old drunkard staggering home from the out-
house of the tavern, whence he had lately risen,
And the school-mistress that passed on her way to the
school,
And the friendly boys that passed—and the quarrel-
some boys,
And the tidy and fresh-cheeked girls—and the bare-
foot negro boy and girl,
And all the changes of city and country, wherever he
went.

4His own parents,
He that had fathered him, and she that conceived him
in her womb, and birthed him,
They gave this child more of themselves than that,
They gave him afterward every day—they and of
them became part of him.

5The mother at home, quietly placing the dishes on the
supper-table,
The mother with mild words—clean her cap and
gown, a wholesome odor falling off her person
and clothes as she walks by;
The father, strong, self-sufficient, manly, mean, an-
gered, unjust,
The blow, the quick loud word, the tight bargain, the
crafty lure,
The family usages, the language, the company, the
furniture—the yearning and swelling heart,
Affection that will not be gainsayed—the sense of
what is real—the thought if, after all, it should
prove unreal,
The doubts of day-time and the doubts of night-time—
the curious whether and how,


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Whether that which appears so is so, or is it all flashes
and specks?
Men and women crowding fast in the streets—if they
are not flashes and specks, what are they?
The streets themselves, and the façades of houses, and
goods in the windows,
Vehicles, teams, the heavy-planked wharves—the
huge crossing at the ferries,
The village on the highland, seen from afar at sunset—
the river between,
Shadows, aureola and mist, light falling on roofs and
gables of white or brown, three miles off,
The schooner near by, sleepily dropping down the
tide—the little boat slack-towed astern,
The hurrying tumbling waves, quick-broken crests,
slapping,
The strata of colored clouds, the long bar of maroon-
tint, away solitary by itself—the spread of purity
it lies motionless in,
The horizon's edge, the flying sea-crow, the fragrance
of salt-marsh and shore-mud;
These became part of that child who went forth every
day, and who now goes, and will always go forth
every day,
And these become part of him or her that peruses
them here.


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