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LEAVES OF GRASS.


1.

O HASTENING light!
O free and extatic! O what I here, preparing, warble
for!
O the sun of the world will ascend, dazzling, and take
his height—and you too will ascend!
O so amazing and broad—up there resplendent, dart-
ing and burning!
O vision prophetic, stagger'd with weight of light!
with pouring glories!
O lips of my soul, already becoming powerless!
O ample and grand Presidentiads!
New history! new heroes! I project you!
Visions of poets! only you really last! O sweep on!
sweep on!
O heights too swift and dizzy yet!
O purged and luminous! you threaten me more than
I can stand!
(I must not venture—the ground under my feet men-
aces me—it will not support me;)
O present! I return to you while yet I may!


2.

TEARS! tears! tears!
In the night, in solitude, tears;
On the white shore dripping, dripping, suck'd in by
the sand;
Tears—not a star shining—all dark and desolate;
Moist tears from the eyes of a muffled head:
—O who is that ghost?—that form in the dark, with
tears?


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What shapeless lump is that, bent, crouch'd there on
the sand?
Streaming tears—sobbing tears—throes, choked with
wild cries;
O storm, embodied, rising, careering, with swift steps
along the beach;
O wild and dismal night storm, with wind! O belch-
ing and desperate!
O shade, so sedate and decorous by day, with calm
countenance and regulated pace;
But away, at night, as you fly, none looking—O then
the unloosen'd ocean,
Of tears! tears! tears!


3.

1 ABOARD, at the ship's helm,
A young steersman, steering with care.

2A bell through fog on a sea-coast dolefully ringing,
An ocean-bell—O a warning bell, rock'd by the waves.

3O you give good notice indeed, you bell by the sea-
reefs ringing,
Ringing, ringing, to warn the ship from its wreck-
place.

4For, as on the alert, O steersman, you mind the
bell's admonition,
The bows turn,—the freighted ship, tacking, speeds
away under her gray sails,
The beautiful and noble ship, with all her precious
wealth, speeds away gaily and safe.

5But O the ship, the immortal ship! O ship aboard
the ship!
O ship of the body—ship of the soul—voyaging, voy-
aging, voyaging.

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