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Books by Whitman



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O MAGNET-SOUTH.

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,


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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 Okee-
chobee, 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 blos-
soming 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 trailing moss,
The piney odor and the gloom, the awful natural stillness, (here
in these dense swamps the freebooter carries his gun, and
the fugitive has his conceal'd hut;)
O the strange fascination of these half-known half-impassable
swamps, infested by reptiles, resounding 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 Kentucky 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;
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 Tennessee and
never wander more.

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