Published Works

Books by Whitman



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LONGINGS FOR HOME.

O MAGNET-SOUTH! O glistening, perfumed South! My
South!
O quick mettle, rich blood, impulse, and love! Good
and evil! O all dear to me!
O dear to me my birth-things—All moving things,
and the trees where I was born—the grains,
plants, rivers;
Dear to me my own slow sluggish rivers where they
flow, distant, over flats of silvery sands, or
through swamps;
Dear to me the Roanoke, the Savannah, the Altama-
haw, the Pedee, the Tombigbee, the Santee, the
Coosa, and the Sabine;
O pensive, far away wandering, I return with my Soul
to haunt their banks again;
Again in Florida I float on transparent lakes—I float
on the Okeechobee—I cross the hummock land,
or through pleasant openings, or dense forests;
I see the parrots in the woods—I see the papaw tree
and the blossoming titi;
Again, sailing in my coaster, on deck, I coast off
Georgia—I coast up the Carolinas,
I see where the live-oak is growing—I see where the
yellow-pine, the scented bay-tree, the lemon and
orange, the cypress, the graceful palmetto;


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I pass rude sea-headlands and enter Pamlico Sound
through an inlet, and dart my vision inland;
O the cotton plant! the growing fields of rice, sugar,
hemp!
The cactus, guarded with thorns—the laurel-tree,
with large white flowers;
The range afar—the richness and barrenness—the old
woods charged with mistletoe and trailing moss,
The piney odor and the gloom—the awful natural
stillness, (Here in these dense swamps the free-
booter carries his gun, and the fugitive slave
has his conceal'd hut;)
O the strange fascination of these half-known, half-
impassable swamps, infested by reptiles, re-
sounding with the bellow of the alligator, the
sad noises of the night-owl and the wild-cat,
and the whirr of the rattlesnake;
The mocking-bird, the American mimic, singing all
the forenoon—singing through the moon-lit
night,
The humming-bird, the wild-turkey, the raccoon, the
opossum;
A Tennessee corn-field—the tall, graceful, long-leav'd
corn—slender, flapping, bright green, with
tassels—with beautiful ears, each well-sheath'd
in its husk;
An Arkansas prairie—a sleeping lake, or still bayou;
O my heart! O tender and fierce pangs—I can stand
them not—I will depart;
O to be a Virginian, where I grew up! O to be a
Carolinian!
O longings irrepressible! O I will go back to old Ten-
nessee, and never wander more!

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