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 Altamahaw,
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;


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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;
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 training moss,
The piney odor and the gloom—the awful natural still-
ness, (Here in these dense swamps the freebooter
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, resound-
ing 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 tas-
sels—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 Caro-
linian!
O longings irrepressible! O I will go back to old Ten-
nessee, and never wander more!

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