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Books by Whitman



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AMERICAN FEUILLAGE.

AMERICA always!
Always our own feuillage!
Always Florida's green peninsula! Always the priceless
delta of Louisiana! Always the cotton-fields of
Alabama and Texas!
Always California's golden hills and hollows—and the
silver mountains of New Mexico! Always soft-
breath'd Cuba!
Always the vast slope drain'd by the Southern Sea—
inseparable with the slopes drain'd by the East-
ern and Western Seas;
The area the eighty-third year of These States—the
three and a half millions of square miles;
The eighteen thousand miles of sea-coast and bay-coast
on the main—the thirty thousand miles of river
navigation,
The seven millions of distinct families, and the same
number of dwellings—Always these, and more,
branching forth into numberless branches;
Always the free range and diversity! always the conti-
nent of Democracy!
Always the prairies, pastures, forests, vast cities, trav-
elers, Kanada, the snows;
Always these compact lands—lands tied at the hips
with the belt stringing the huge oval lakes;
Always the West, with strong native persons—the in-
creasing density there—the habitans, friendly,
threatening, ironical, scorning invaders;
All sights, South, North, East—all deeds, promiscu-
ously done at all times,


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All characters, movements, growths—a few noticed,
myriads unnoticed,
Through Mannahatta's streets I walking, these things
gathering;
On interior rivers, by night, in the glare of pine knots,
steamboats wooding up;
Sunlight by day on the valley of the Susquehanna, and
on the valleys of the Potomac and Rappahannock,
and the valleys of the Roanoke and Delaware;
In their northerly wilds, beasts of prey haunting the
Adirondacks, the hills—or lapping the Saginaw
waters to drink;
In a lonesome inlet, a sheldrake, lost from the flock,
sitting on the water, rocking silently;
In farmers' barns, oxen in the stable, their harvest labor
done—they rest standing—they are too tired;
Afar on arctic ice, the she-walrus lying drowsily, while
her cubs play around;
The hawk sailing where men have not yet sail'd—the
farthest polar sea, ripply, crystalline, open, be-
yond the floes;
White drift spooning ahead, where the ship in the tem-
pest dashes;
On solid land, what is done in cities, as the bells all
strike midnight together;
In primitive woods, the sounds there also sounding—
the howl of the wolf, the scream of the panther,
and the hoarse bellow of the elk;
In winter beneath the hard blue ice of Moosehead Lake
—in summer visible through the clear waters,
the great trout swimming;
In lower latitudes, in warmer air, in the Carolinas, the
large black buzzard floating slowly, high beyond
the tree tops,
Below, the red cedar, festoon'd with tylandria—the
pines and cypresses, growing out of the white
sand that spreads far and flat;
Rude boats descending the big Pedee—climbing plants,
parasites, with color'd flowers and berries, envel-
oping huge trees,


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The waving drapery on the live oak, trailing long and
low, noiselessly waved by the wind;
The camp of Georgia wagoners, just after dark—the
supper-fires, and the cooking and eating by
whites and negroes,
Thirty or forty great wagons—the mules, cattle, horses,
feeding from troughs,
The shadows, gleams, up under the leaves of the old
sycamore-trees—the flames—with the black smoke
from the pitch-pine, curling and rising;
Southern fishermen fishing—the sounds and inlets of
North Carolina's coast—the shad-fishery and the
herring-fishery—the large sweep-seines—the
windlasses on shore work'd by horses—the clear-
ing, curing, and packing-houses;
Deep in the forest, in piney woods, turpentine dropping
from the incisions in the trees—There are the
turpentine works,
There are the negroes at work, in good health—the
ground in all directions is cover'd with pine
straw:
—In Tennessee and Kentucky, slaves busy in the coal-
ings, at the forge, by the furnace-blaze, or at the
corn-shucking;
In Virginia, the planter's son returning after a long
absence, joyfully welcom'd and kiss'd by the aged
mulatto nurse;
On rivers, boatmen safely moor'd at nightfall, in their
boats, under shelter of high banks,
Some of the younger men dance to the sound of the
banjo or fiddle—others sit on the gunwale, smok-
ing and talking;
Late in the afternoon, the mocking-bird, the American
mimic, singing in the Great Dismal Swamp—
there are the greenish waters, the resinous odor,
the plenteous moss, the cypress tree, and the
juniper tree;
—Northward, young men of Mannahatta—the target
company from an excursion returning home at
evening—the musket-muzzles all bear bunches
of flowers presented by women;


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Children at play—or on his father's lap a young boy
fallen asleep, (how his lips move! how he smiles
in his sleep!)
The scout riding on horseback over the plains west of
the Mississippi—he ascends a knoll and sweeps
his eye around;
California life—the miner, bearded, dress'd in his rude
costume—the stanch California friendship—the
sweet air—the graves one, in passing, meets,
solitary, just aside the horse-path;
Down in Texas, the cotton-field, the negro-cabins—
drivers driving mules or oxen before rude carts—
cotton bales piled on banks and wharves;
Encircling all, vast-darting, up and wide, the American
Soul, with equal hemispheres—one Love, one
Dilation or Pride;
—In arriere, the peace-talk with the Iroquois, the abo-
rigines—the calumet, the pipe of good-will, arbi-
tration, and indorsement,
The sachem blowing the smoke first toward the sun and
then toward the earth,
The drama of the scalp-dance enacted with painted
faces and guttural exclamations,
The setting out of the war-party—the long and stealthy
march,
The single-file—the swinging hatchets—the surprise
and slaughter of enemies;
—All the acts, scenes, ways, persons, attitudes of These
States—reminiscences, all institutions,
All These States, compact—Every square mile of These
States, without excepting a particle—you also—
me also,
Me pleas'd, rambling in lanes and country fields, Pau-
manok's fields,
Me, observing the spiral flight of two little yellow but-
terflies, shuffling between each other, ascending
high in the air;
The darting swallow, the destroyer of insects—the fall
traveler southward, but returning northward
early in the spring;


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The country boy at the close of the day, driving the
herd of cows, and shouting to them as they loiter
to browse by the road-side;
The city wharf—Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore,
Charleston, New Orleans, San Francisco,
The departing ships, when the sailors heave at the
capstan;
—Evening—me in my room—the setting sun,
The setting summer sun shining in my open window,
showing the swarm of flies, suspended, balancing
in the air in the centre of the room, darting
athwart, up and down, casting swift shadows in
specks on the opposite wall, where the shine is;
The athletic American matron speaking in public to
crowds of listeners;
Males, females, immigrants, combinations—the copious-
ness—the individuality of The States, each for
itself—the money-makers;
Factories, machinery, the mechanical forces—the wind-
lass, lever, pulley—All certainties,
The certainty of space, increase, freedom, futurity,
In space, the sporades, the scatter'd islands, the stars—
on the firm earth, the lands, my lands;
O lands! all so dear to me—what you are, (whatever it
is,) I become a part of that, whatever it is;
Southward there, I screaming, with wings slow flapping,
with the myriads of gulls wintering along the
coasts of Florida—or in Louisiana, with pelicans
breeding;
Otherways, there, atwixt the banks of the Arkansaw, the
Rio Grande, the Nueces, the Brazos, the Tombig-
bee, the Red River, the Saskatchawan, or the
Osage, I with the spring waters laughing and
skipping and running;
Northward, on the sands, on some shallow bay of Pau-
manok, I, with parties of snowy herons wading
in the wet to seek worms and aquatic plants;
Retreating, triumphantly twittering, the king-bird, from
piercing the crow with its bill, for amusement—
And I triumphantly twittering;


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The migrating flock of wild geese alighting in autumn
to refresh themselves—the body of the flock feed
—the sentinels outside move around with erect
heads watching, and are from time to time re-
liev'd by other sentinels—And I feeding and
taking turns with the rest;
In Kanadian forests, the moose, large as an ox, corner'd
by hunters, rising desperately on his hind-feet,
and plunging with his fore-feet, the hoofs as
sharp as knives—And I, plunging at the hunters,
corner'd and desperate;
In the Mannahatta, streets, piers, shipping, store-houses,
and the countless workmen working in the shops,
And I too of the Mannahatta, singing thereof—and no
less in myself than the whole of the Mannahatta
in itself,
Singing the song of These, my ever-united lands—my
body no more inevitably united, part to part, and
made one identity, any more than my lands are
inevitably united, and made ONE IDENTITY;
Nativities, climates, the grass of the great Pastoral
Plains;
Cities, labors, death, animals, products, war, good and
evil—these me,
These affording, in all their particulars, endless feuil-
lage to me and to America, how can I do less
than pass the clue of the union of them, to afford
the like to you?
Whoever you are! how can I but offer you divine leaves,
that you also be eligible as I am?
How can I but, as here, chanting, invite you for your-
self to collect bouquets of the incomparable
feuillage of These States?

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