Published Works

Books by Whitman



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CALAMUS.


IN PATHS UNTRODDEN.

IN paths untrodden,
In the growth by margins of pond-waters,
Escaped from the life that exhibits itself,
From all the standards hitherto publish'd—from the
pleasures, profits, conformities,
Which too long I was offering to feed my Soul;
Clear to me, now, standards not yet publish'd—clear
to me that my Soul,
That the Soul of the man I speak for, feeds, rejoices
in comrades;
Here, by myself, away from the clank of the world,
Tallying and talk'd to here by tongues aromatic,
No longer abash'd—for in this secluded spot I can
respond as I would not dare elsewhere,
Strong upon me the life that does not exhibit itself,
yet contains all the rest,
Resolv'd to sing no songs to-day but those of manly
attachment,
Projecting them along that substantial life,
Bequeathing, hence, types of athletic love,
Afternoon, this delicious Ninth-month, in my forty-
first year,
I proceed, for all who are, or have been, young men,
To tell the secret of my nights and days,
To celebrate the need of comrades.



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SCENTED HERBAGE OF MY BREAST.

SCENTED herbage of my breast,
Leaves from you I yield, I write, to be perused best
afterwards,
Tomb-leaves, growing up above me, above
death,
Perennial roots, tall leaves—O the winter shall not
freeze you, delicate leaves,
Every year shall you bloom again—Out from where
you retired, you shall emerge again;
O I do not know whether many, passing by, will dis-
cover you, or inhale your faint odor—but I
believe a few will;
O slender leaves! O blossoms of my blood! I permit
you to tell, in your own way, of the heart that
is under you;
O burning and throbbing—surely all will one day be
accomplish'd;
O I do not know what you mean, there underneath
yourselves—you are not happiness,
You are often more bitter than I can bear—you burn
and sting me,
Yet you are very beautiful to me, you faint-tinged
roots—you make me think of Death,
Death is beautiful from you—(what indeed is beauti-
ful, except Death and Love?)
O I think it is not for life I am chanting here my
chant of lovers—I think it must be for Death,
For how calm, how solemn it grows, to ascend to the
atmosphere of lovers,
Death or life I am then indifferent—my Soul declines
to prefer,
I am not sure but the high Soul of lovers welcomes
death most;
Indeed, O Death, I think now these leaves mean pre-
cisely the same as you mean;


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Grow up taller, sweet leaves, that I may see! grow
up out of my breast!
Spring away from the conceal'd heart there!
Do not fold yourself so in your pink-tinged roots,
timid leaves!
Do not remain down there so ashamed, herbage of my
breast!
Come, I am determin'd to unbare this broad breast of
mine—I have long enough stifled and choked:
Emblematic and capricious blades, I leave you—now
you serve me not;
Away! I will say what I have to say, by itself,
I will escape from the sham that was proposed to
me,
I will sound myself and comrades only—I will never
again utter a call, only their call,
I will raise with it, immortal reverberations through
The States,
I will give an example to lovers, to take permanent
shape and will through The States;
Through me shall the words be said to make death
exhilarating;
Give me your tone therefore, O Death, that I may
accord with it,
Give me yourself—for I see that you belong to me
now above all, and are folded inseparably to-
gether—you Love and Death are;
Nor will I allow you to balk me any more with what I
was calling life,
For now it is convey'd to me that you are the pur-
ports essential,
That you hide in these shifting forms of life, for reasons
—and that they are mainly for you,
That you, beyond them, come forth, to remain, the
real reality,
That behind the mask of materials you patiently wait,
no matter how long,
That you will one day, perhaps take control of all,


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That you will perhaps dissipate this entire show of
appearance,
That may be you are what it is all for—but it does not
last so very long,
But you will last very long.


Whoever you are, Holding me now in Hand.

1 WHOEVER you are, holding me now in hand,
Without one thing, all will be useless,
I give you fair warning, before you attempt me
further,
I am not what you supposed, but far different.

2Who is he that would become my follower?
Who would sign himself a candidate for my affections?

3The way is suspicious—the result uncertain, perhaps
destructive;
You would have to give up all else—I alone would ex-
pect to be your God, sole and exclusive,
Your novitiate would even then be long and exhaust-
ing,
The whole past theory of your life, and all conformity
to the lives around you, would have to be aban-
doned;
Therefore release me now, before troubling yourself
any further—Let go your hand from my
shoulders,
Put me down, and depart on your way.

4Or else, by stealth, in some wood, for trial,
Or back of a rock, in the open air,
(For in any roof'd room of a house I emerge not—nor
in company,


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And in libraries I lie as one dumb, a gawk, or unborn,
or dead,)
But just possibly with you on a high hill—first watch-
ing lest any person, for miles around, ap-
proach unawares,
Or possibly with you sailing at sea, or on the beach of
the sea, or some quiet island,
Here to put your lips upon mine I permit you,
With the comrade's long-dwelling kiss, or the new
husband's kiss,
For I am the new husband, and I am the comrade.

5Or, if you will, thrusting me beneath your clothing,
Where I may feel the throbs of your heart, or rest
upon your hip,
Carry me when you go forth over land or sea;
For thus, merely touching you, is enough—is best,
And thus, touching you, would I silently sleep and be
carried eternally.

6But these leaves conning, you con at peril,
For these leaves, and me, you will not understand,
They will elude you at first, and still more afterward
—I will certainly elude you,
Even while you should think you had unquestionably
caught me, behold!
Already you see I have escaped from you.

7For it is not for what I have put into it that I have
written this book,
Nor is it by reading it you will acquire it,
Nor do those know me best who admire me, and
vauntingly praise me,
Nor will the candidates for my love, (unless at most a
very few,) prove victorious,
Nor will my poems do good only—they will do just as
much evil, perhaps more;
For all is useless without that which you may guess at
many times and not hit—that which I hinted at;
Therefore release me, and depart on your way.



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THESEI, SINGING IN SPRING.

THESE, I, singing in spring, collect for lovers,
(For who but I should understand lovers, and all their
sorrow and joy?
And who but I should be the poet of comrades?)
Collecting, I traverse the garden, the world—but soon
I pass the gates,
Now along the pond-side—now wading in a little,
fearing not the wet,
Now by the post-and-rail fences, where the old stones
thrown there, pick'd from the fields, have accu-
mulated,
Wild-flowers and vines and weeds come up through
the stones, and partly cover them—Beyond
these I pass,
Far, far in the forest, before I think where I go,
Solitary, smelling the earthy smell, stopping now and
then in the silence,
Alone I had thought—yet soon a silent troop gathers
around me,
Some walk by my side, and some behind, and some
embrace my arms or neck,
They, the spirits of friends, dead or alive—thicker
they come, a great crowd, and I in the middle,
Collecting, dispensing, singing in spring, there I wan-
der with them,
Plucking something for tokens—tossing toward who-
ever is near me;
Here! lilac, with a branch of pine,
Here out of my pocket, some moss which I pull'd off
a live-oak in Florida, as it hung trailing down,
Here, some pinks and laurel leaves, and a handful of
sage,
And here what I now draw from the water, wading in
the pond-side,
(O here I last saw him that tenderly loves me—and
returns again, never to separate from me,


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And this, O this shall henceforth be the token of com-
rades—this Calamus-root shall,
Interchange it, youths, with each other! Let none
render it back!)
And twigs of maple, and a bunch of wild orange, and
chestnut,
And stems of currants, and plum-blows, and the aro-
matic cedar:
These, I, compass'd around by a thick cloud of spirits,
Wandering, point to, or touch as I pass, or throw them
loosely from me,
Indicating to each one what he shall have—giving
something to each;
But what I drew from the water by the pond-side,
that I reserve,
I will give of it—but only to them that love, as I my-
self am capable of loving.


A SONG.

1

1COME, I will make the continent indissoluble;
I will make the most splendid race the sun ever yet
shone upon;
I will make divine magnetic lands,
With the love of comrades,
With the life-long love of comrades.


2

2I will plant companionship thick as trees along all the
rivers of America, and along the shores of the
great lakes, and all over the prairies;
I will make inseparable cities, with their arms about
each other's necks;
By the love of comrades,
By the manly love of comrades.




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3

3 For you these, from me, O Democracy, to serve you,
ma femme!
For you! for you, I am trilling these songs,
In the love of comrades,
In the high-towering love of comrades.



Not Heaving from my Ribb'd Breast only.

NOT heaving from my ribb'd breast only;
Not in sighs at night, in rage, dissatisfied with myself;
Not in those long-drawn, ill-supprest sighs;
Not in many an oath and promise broken;
Not in my wilful and savage soul's volition;
Not in the subtle nourishment of the air;
Not in this beating and pounding at my temples and
wrists;
Not in the curious systole and diastole within, which
will one day cease;
Not in many a hungry wish, told to the skies only;
Not in cries, laughter, defiances, thrown from me when
alone, far in the wilds;
Not in husky pantings through clench'd teeth;
Not in sounded and resounded words—chattering
words, echoes, dead words;
Not in the murmurs of my dreams while I sleep,
Nor the other murmurs of these incredible dreams of
every day;
Nor in the limbs and senses of my body, that take you
and dismiss you continually—Not there;
Not in any or all of them, O adhesiveness! O pulse
of my life!
Need I that you exist and show yourself, any more
than in these songs.



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Of the Terrible Doubt of Appearances.

OF the terrible doubt of appearances,
Of the uncertainty after all—that we may be deluded,
That may-be reliance and hope are but speculations
after all,
That may-be identity beyond the grave is a beautiful
fable only,
May-be the things I perceive—the animals, plants, men,
hills, shining and flowing waters,
The skies of day and night—colors, densities, forms—
May-be these are, (as doubtless they are,) only
apparitions, and the real something has yet to be
known;
(How often they dart out of themselves, as if to con-
found me and mock me!
How often I think neither I know, nor any man knows,
aught of them;)
May-be seeming to me what they are, (as doubtless
they indeed but seem,) as from my present point
of view—And might prove, (as of course they
would,) naught of what they appear, or naught
anyhow, from entirely changed points of view;
—To me, these, and the like of these, are curiously
answer'd by my lovers, my dear friends;
When he whom I love travels with me, or sits a long
while holding me by the hand,
When the subtle air, the impalpable, the sense that
words and reason hold not, surround us and
pervade us,
Then I am charged with untold and untellable wisdom
—I am silent—I require nothing further,
I cannot answer the question of appearances, or that
of identity beyond the grave;
But I walk or sit indifferent—I am satisfied,
He ahold of my hand has completely satisfied me.



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RECORDERS AGES HENCE.

RECORDERS ages hence!
Come, I will take you down underneath this impassive
exterior—I will tell you what to say of me;
Publish my name and hang up my picture as that of
the tenderest lover,
The friend, the lover's portrait, of whom his friend,
his lover, was fondest,
Who was not proud of his songs, but of the measure-
less ocean of love within him—and freely
pour'd it forth,
Who often walk'd lonesome walks, thinking of his
dear friends, his lovers,
Who pensive, away from one he lov'd, often lay sleep-
less and dissatisfied at night,
Who knew too well the sick, sick dread lest the one
he lov'd might secretly be indifferent to him,
Whose happiest days were far away, through fields,
in woods, on hills, he and another, wandering
hand in hand, they twain, apart from other
men,
Who oft as he saunter'd the streets, curved with his
arm the shoulder of his friend—while the arm
of his friend rested upon him also.


When I Heard at the Close of the Day.

WHEN I heard at the close of the day how my name
had been receiv'd with plaudits in the capitol,
still it was not a happy night for me that fol-
low;
And else, when I carous'd, or when my plans were
accomplish'd, still I was not happy;
But the day when I rose at dawn from the bed of
perfect health, refresh'd, singing, inhaling the
ripe breath of autumn,


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When I saw the full moon in the west grow pale and
disappear in the morning light,
When I wander'd alone over the beach, and undress-
ing, bathed, laughing with the cool waters, and
saw the sun rise,
And when I thought how my dear friend, my lover,
was on his way coming, O then I was happy;
O then each breath tasted sweeter—and all that day
my food nourish'd me more—and the beautiful
day pass'd well,
And the next came with equal joy—and with the next,
at evening, came my friend;
And that night, while all was still, I heard the waters
roll slowly continually up the shores,
I heard the hissing rustle of the liquid and sands, as
directed to me, whispering, to congratulate me,
For the one I love most lay sleeping by me under the
same cover in the cool night,
In the stillness, in the autumn moonbeams, his face
was inclined toward me,
And his arm lay lightly around my breast—and that
night I was happy.


Are you the New Person Drawn Toward me?

ARE you the new person drawn toward me?
To begin with, take warning—I am surely far differ-
ent from what you suppose;
Do you suppose you will find in me your ideal?
Do you think it so easy to have me become your
lover?
Do you think the friendship of me would be unalloy'd
satisfaction?
Do you think I am trusty and faithful?


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Do you see no further than this façade—this smooth
and tolerant manner of me?
Do you suppose yourself advancing on real ground
toward a real heroic man?
Have you no thought, O dreamer, that it may be all
maya, illusion?


Roots and Leaves Themselves Alone.

ROOTS and leaves themselves alone are these;
Scents brought to men and women from the wild
woods, and from the pond-side,
Breast-sorrel and pinks of love—fingers that wind
around tighter than vines,
Gushes from the throats of birds, hid in the foliage
of trees, as the sun is risen;
Breezes of land and love—breezes set from living
shores out to you on the living sea—to you,
O sailors!
Frost-mellow'd berries, and Third-month twigs,
offer'd fresh to young persons wandering out
in the fields when the winter breaks up,
Love-buds, put before you and within you, whoever
you are,
Buds to be unfolded on the old terms;
If you bring the warmth of the sun to them, they
will open, and bring form, color, perfume, to
you;
If you become the aliment and the wet, they will
become flowers, fruits, tall branches and trees.



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Not Heat Flames up and Consumes.

NOT heat flames up and consumes,
Not sea-waves hurry in and out,
Not the air, delicious and dry, the air of the ripe
summer, bears lightly along white down-balls
of myriads of seeds,
Wafted, sailing gracefully, to drop where they may;
Not these—O none of these, more than the flames of
me, consuming, burning for his love whom I
love!
O none, more than I, hurrying in and out;
Does the tide hurry, seeking something, and never
give up? O I the same;
O nor down-balls, nor perfumes, nor the high, rain-
emitting clouds, are borne through the open
air,
Any more than my Soul is borne through the open
air,
Wafted in all directions, O love, for friendship, for
you.


TRICKLE, DROPS.

TRICKLE, drops! my blue veins leaving!
O drops of me! trickle, slow drops,
Candid, from me falling—drip, bleeding drops,
From wounds made to free you whence you were
prison'd,
From my face—from my forehead and lips,
From my breast—from within where I was conceal'd
—press forth, red drops—confession drops;
Stain every page—stain every song I sing, every word
I say, bloody drops;


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Let them know your scarlet heat—let them glisten;
Saturate them with yourself, all ashamed and wet;
Glow upon all I have written or shall write, bleeding
drops;
Let it all be seen in your light, blushing drops.


Of Him I Love Day and Night.

OF him I love day and night, I dream'd I heard he was
dead;
And I dream'd I went where they had buried him I love
—but he was not in that place;
And I dream'd I wander'd, searching among burial-
places, to find him;
And I found that every place was a burial-place;
The houses full of life were equally full of death, (this
house is now;)
The streets, the shipping, the places of amusement,
the Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, the Manna-
hatta, were as full of the dead as of the living,
And fuller, O vastly fuller, of the dead than of the
living;
—And what I dream'd I will henceforth tell to every
person and age,
And I stand henceforth bound to what I dream'd;
And now I am willing to disregard burial-places, and
dispense with them;
And if the memorials of the dead were put up indif-
ferently everywhere, even in the room where I
eat or sleep, I should be satisfied;
And if the corpse of any one I love, or if my own
corpse, be duly render'd to powder, and pour'd
in the sea, I shall be satisfied;
Or if it be distributed to the winds, I shall be sat-
isfied.



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CITY OF ORGIES.

CITY of orgies, walks and joys!
City whom that I have lived and sung in your midst
will one day make you illustrious,
Not the pageants of you—not your shifting tableaux,
your spectacles, repay me;
Not the interminable rows of your houses—nor the
ships at the wharves,
Nor the processions in the streets, nor the bright win-
dows, with goods in them;
Nor to converse with learn'd persons, or bear my share
in the soiree or feast;
Not those—but, as I pass, O Manhattan! your fre-
quent and swift flash of eyes offering me love,
Offering response to my own—these repay me;
Lovers, continual lovers, only repay me.


BEHOLD THIS SWARTHY FACE.

BEHOLD this swarthy face, this unrefined face—these
gray eyes,
This beard—the white wool, unclipt upon my neck,
My brown hands, and the silent manner of me, with-
out charm;
Yet comes one, a Manhattanese, and ever at parting,
kisses me lightly on the lips with robust love,
And I, in the public room, or on the crossing of the
street, or on the ship's deck, kiss him in return;
We observe that salute of American comrades, land
and sea,
We are those two natural and nonchalant persons.



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I saw in Louisiana a Live-Oak Growing.

I SAW in Louisiana a live-oak growing,
All alone stood it, and the moss hung down from the
branches;
Without any companion it grew there, uttering joyous
leaves of dark green,
And its look, rude, unbending, lusty, made me think
of myself;
But I wonder'd how it could utter joyous leaves,
standing alone there, without its friend, its
lover near—for I knew I could not;
And I broke off a twig with a certain number of
leaves upon it, and twined around it a little
moss,
And brought it away—and I have placed it in sight in
my room;
It is not needed to remind me as of my own dear
friends,
(For I believe lately I think of little else than of
them;)
Yet it remains to me a curious token—it makes me
think of manly love;
—For all that, and though the live-oak glistens there
in Louisiana, solitary, in a wide flat space,
Uttering joyous leaves all its life, without a friend, a
lover, near,
I know very well I could not.


That Music Always Round Me.

THAT music always round me, unceasing, unbeginning
—yet long untaught I did not hear;
But now the chorus I hear, and am elated;
A tenor, strong, ascending, with power and health,
with glad notes of day-break I hear,


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A soprano, at intervals, sailing buoyantly over the
tops of immense waves,
A transparent base, shuddering lusciously under and
through the universe,
The triumphant tutti—the funeral wailings, with
sweet flutes and violins—all these I fill myself
with;
I hear not the volumes of sound merely—I am moved
by the exquisite meanings,
I listen to the different voices winding in and out,
striving, contending with fiery vehemence to
excel each other in emotion,
I do not think the peformers know themselves—but
now I think I begin to know them.


TO A STRANGER.

PASSING stranger! you do not know how longingly I
look upon you,
You must be he I was seeking, or she I was seeking,
(it comes to me, as of a dream,)
I have somewhere surely lived a life of joy with you,
All is recall'd as we flit by each other, fluid, affection-
ate, chaste, matured,
You grew up with me, were a boy with me, or a girl
with me,
I ate with you, and slept with you—your body has
become not yours only, nor left my body mine
only,
You give me the pleasure of your eyes, face, flesh, as
we pass—you take of my beard, breast, hands,
in return,
I am not to speak to you—I am to think of you when
I sit alone, or wake at night alone,
I am to wait—I do not doubt I am to meet you again,
I am to see to it that I do not lose you.



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This Moment, Yearning and Thoughtful.

THIS moment yearning and thoughtful, sitting alone,
It seems to me there are other men in other lands,
yearning and thoughtful;
It seems to me I can look over and behold them, in
Prussia, Italy, France, Spain—or far, far away,
in China, or in Russia or India—talking other
dialects;
And it seems to me if I could know those men, I
should become attached to them, as I do to men
in my own lands;
O I know we should be brethren and lovers,
I know I should be happy with them.


I Hear it was Charged Against Me.

I HEAR it was charged against me that I sought to
destroy institutions;
But really I am neither for nor against institutions;
(What indeed have I in common with them?—Or
what with the destruction of them?)
Only I will establish in the Mannahatta, and in every
city of These States, inland and seaboard,
And in the fields and woods, and above every keel
little or large, that dents the water,
Without edifices, or rules, or trustees, or any argu-
ment,
The institution of the dear love of comrades.



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The Prairie-Grass Dividing.

THE prairie-grass dividing—its special odor breathing,
I demand of it the spiritual corresponding,
Demand the most copious and close companionship
of men,
Demand the blades to rise of words, acts, beings,
Those of the open atmosphere, coarse, sunlit, fresh,
nutritious,
Those that go their own gait, erect, stepping with
freedom and command—leading, not following,
Those with a never-quell'd audacity—those with sweet
and lusty flesh, clear of taint,
Those that look carelessly in the faces of Presidents
and Governors, as to say, Who are you?
Those of earth-born passion, simple, never constrain'd'
never obedient,
Those of inland America.


We Two Boys Together Clinging.

WE two boys together clinging,
One the other never leaving,
Up and down the roads going—North and South
excursions making,
Power enjoying—elbows stretching—fingers clutch-
ing,
Armed and fearless—eating, drinking, sleeping, lov-
ing,
No law less than ourselves owning—sailing, soldiering,
thieving, threatening,
Misers, menials, priests alarming—air breathing, water
drinking, on the turf of the sea-beach dancing,
Cities wrenching, ease scorning, statutes mocking,
feebleness chasing,
Fulfilling our foray.



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O Living Always—Always Dying!

O LIVING always—always dying!
O the burials of me, past and present!
O me, while I stride ahead, material, visible, imperi-
ous as ever!
O me, what I was for years, now dead, (I lament not
—I am content;)
O to disengage myself from those corpses of me,
which I turn and look at, where I cast them!
To pass on, (O living! always living!) and leave the
corpses behind!


When I Peruse the Conquer'd Fame.

WHEN I peruse the conquer'd fame of heroes, and the
victories of mighty generals, I do not envy the
generals,
Nor the President in his Presidency, nor the rich in
his great house;
But when I read of the brotherhood of lovers, how it
was with them,
How through life, through dangers, odium, unchang-
ing, long and long,
Through youth, and through middle and old age, how
unfaltering, how affectionate and faithful they
were,
Then I am pensive—I hastily put down the book, and
walk away, fill'd with the bitterest envy.


A GLIMPSE.

A GLIMPSE, through an interstice caught,
Of a crowd of workmen and drivers in a bar-room,
around the stove, late of a winter night—And I
unremark'd, seated in a corner;


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Of a youth who loves me, and whom I love, silently
approaching, and seating himself near, that he
may hold me by the hand;
A long while, amid the noises of coming and going—
of drinking and oath and smutty jest,
There we two, content, happy in being together,
speaking little, perhaps not a word.


A PROMISE TO CALIFORNIA.

A PROMISE to California,
Also to the great Pastoral Plains, and for Oregon:
Sojourning east a while longer, soon I travel toward
you, to remain, to teach robust American love;
For I know very well that I and robust love belong
among you, inland, and along the Western
Sea;
For These States tend inland, and toward the Western
Sea—and I will also.


HERE, SAILOR!

WHAT ship, puzzled at sea, cons for the true reckon-
ing?
Or, coming in, to avoid the bars, and follow the chan-
nel, a perfect pilot needs?
Here, sailor! Here, ship! take aboard the most perfect
pilot,
Whom, in a little boat, putting off, and rowing, I,
hailing you, offer.



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HERE THE FRAILEST LEAVES OF ME.

HERE the frailest leaves of me, and yet my strongest-
lasting:
Here I shade down and hide my thoughts—I do not
expose them,
And yet they expose me more than all my other
poems.


WHAT THINK YOU I TAKE MY PEN IN HAND?

WHAT think you I take my pen in hand to record?
The battle-ship, perfect-model'd, majestic, that I saw
pass the offing to-day under full sail?
The splendors of the past day? Or the splendor of the
night that envelops me?
Or the vaunted glory and growth of the great city
spread around me?—No;
But I record of two simple men I saw to-day, on the
pier, in the midst of the crowd, parting the part-
ing of dear friends;
The one to remain hung on the other's neck, and pas-
sionately kiss'd him,
While the one to depart, tightly prest the one to
remain in his arms.


NO LABOR-SAVING MACHINE.

No labor-saving machine,
Nor discovery have I made;
Nor will I be able to leave behind me any wealthy
bequest to found a hospital or library,
Nor reminiscence of any deed of courage, for America,
Nor literary success, nor intellect—nor book for the
book-shelf;
Only a few carols, vibrating through the air, I leave,
For comrades and lovers.



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I DREAMED IN A DREAM.

I DREAM'D in a dream, I saw a city invincible to the
attacks of the whole of the rest of the earth;
I dream'd that was the new City of Friends;
Nothing was greater there than the quality of robust
love—it led the rest;
It was seen every hour in the actions of the men of
that city,
And in all their looks and words.


TO THE EAST AND TO THE WEST.

To the East and to the West;
To the man of the Seaside State, and of Pennsylvania,
To the Kanadian of the North—to the Southerner I
love;
These, with perfect trust, to depict you as myself—the
germs are in all men;
I believe the main purport of These States is to found
a superb friendship, exalté, previously unknown,
Because I perceive it waits, and has been always wait-
ing, latent in all men.


EARTH! MY LIKENESS!

EARTH! my likeness!
Though you look so impassive, ample and spheric
there,
I now suspect that is not all;
I now suspect there is something fierce in you, eligible
to burst forth;
For an athlete is enamour'd of me—and I of him,
But toward him there is something fierce and terrible
in me, eligible to burst forth,
I dare not tell it in words—not even in these songs.



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A LEAF FOR HAND IN HAND.

A LEAF for hand in hand!
You natural persons old and young!
You on the Mississippi, and on all the branches and
bayous of the Mississippi!
You friendly boatmen and mechanics! You roughs!
You twain! And all processions moving along the
streets!
I wish to infuse myself among you till I see it com-
mon for you to walk hand in hand!


FAST ANCHOR'D, ETERNAL, O LOVE.

FAST-ANCHOR'D, eternal, O love! O woman I love;
O bride! O wife! more resistless than I can tell, the
thought of you!
Then separate, as disembodied, or another born,
Ethereal, the last athletic reality, my consolation;
I ascend—I float in the regions of your love, O man,
O sharer of my roving life.


SOMETIMES WITH ONE I LOVE.

SOMETIMES with one I love, I fill myself with rage, for
fear I effuse unreturn'd love;
But now I think there is no unreturn'd love—the pay
is certain, one way or another;
(I loved a certain person ardently, and my love was
not return'd;
Yet out of that, I have written these songs.)



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THAT SHADOW, MY LIKENESS.

THAT shadow, my likeness, that goes to and fro, seek-
ing a livelihood, chattering, chaffering;
How often I find myself standing and looking at it
where it flits;
How often I question and doubt whether that is really
me;
But in these, and among my lovers, and carolling my
songs,
O I never doubt whether that is really me.


AMONG THE MULTITUDE.

1 AMONG the men and women, the multitude,
I perceive one picking me out by secret and divine
signs,
Acknowledging none else—not parent, wife, husband,
brother, child, any nearer than I am;
Some are baffled—But that one is not—that one knows
me.

2Ah, lover and perfect equal!
I meant that you should discover me so, by my faint
indirections;
And I, when I meet you, mean to discover you by the
like in you.


TO A WESTERN BOY.

O BOY of the West!
To you many things to absorb, I teach, to help you
become eleve of mine:
Yet if blood like mine circle not in your veins;
If you be not silently selected by lovers, and do not
silently select lovers,
Of what use is it that you seek to become eleve of
mine?



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O YOU WHOM I OFTEN AND SILENTLY COME.

O YOU whom I often and silently come where you are,
that I may be with you;
As I walk by your side, or sit near, or remain in the
same room with you,
Little you know the subtle electric fire that for your
sake is playing within me.


FULL OF LIFE, NOW.

1 FULL of life, now, compact, visible,
I, forty years old the Eighty-third Year of The States,
To one a century hence, or any number of centuries
hence,
To you, yet unborn, these seeking you.

2When you read these, I, that was visible, am become
invisible;
Now it is you, compact, visible, realizing my poems,
seeking me;
Fancying how happy you were, if I could be with you,
and become your loving comrade;
Be it as if I were with you. Be not too certain but I
am now with you.

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