Books by Whitman
LEAVES OF GRASS.
O ME! O LIFE!
|O ME! O life!…of the questions of these recurring;|
|Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill'd with|
|Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more|
foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
|Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean|
—of the struggle ever renew'd;
|Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid|
crowds I see around me;
|Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the|
rest me intertwined;
|The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good|
amid these, O me, O life?
|That you are here—that life exists, and identity;|
|That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute|
|Of a calm and cool fiat, sooner or later, (How impas-|
sive! How certain and final!)
|Of the President with pale face, asking secretly to him- |
self, What will the people say at last?
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|Of the frivolous Judge—Of the corrupt Congressman,|
Governor, Mayor—Of such as these, standing
helpless and exposed;
|Of the mumbling and screaming priest—(soon, soon|
|Of the lessening, year by year, of venerableness, and of|
the dicta of officers, statutes, pulpits, schools;
|Of the rising forever taller and stronger and broader,|
of the intuitions of men and women, and of self-
esteem, and of personality;
|—Of the New World—Of the Democracies, resplendent,|
|Of the conformity of politics, armies, navies, to them|
and to me,
|Of the shining sun by them—Of the inherent light,|
greater than the rest,
|Of the envelopment of all by them, and of the effusion|
of all from them.
|How they are provided for upon the earth, (appearing|
|How dear and dreadful they are to the earth;|
|How they inure to themselves as much as to any—|
What a paradox appears, their age;
|How people respond to them, yet know them not;|
|How there is something relentless in their fate, all|
|How all times mischoose the objects of their adulation|
|And how the same inexorable price must still be paid|
for the same great purchase.