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Title: Orange Buds by Mail from Florida

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: March 19, 1888

Publication information: New York Herald 19 March 1888: 4.

Source: Our transcription is based on a digital image of a microfilm copy of an original issue.

Whitman Archive ID: per.00126

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, April Lambert, and Susan Belasco




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Orange Buds by Mail from Florida.1

[Voltaire closed a famous argument by claiming that a ship of war and the grand opera were proofs enough of civilization's and France's progress, in his day.]

A lesser proof than old Voltaire's, yet greater,
Proof of this present time, and thee, thy broad
expanse, America,
To my plain Northern hut, in outside clouds
and snow,
Brought safely for a thousand miles o'er land
and tide,
Some three days since on their own soil live
sprouting,
Now here their sweetness through my room un-
folding,
A bunch of orange buds by mail from Florida.2
WALT WHITMAN.

Notes:

1. Reprinted in the "Sands at Seventy" annex to Leaves of Grass (1888). [back]

2. Like Whitman's poem "The First Dandelion," "Orange Buds By Mail From Florida" provoked public reaction in the aftermath of a March blizzard that crippled the coast. A piece from the Hartford Times reprinted in the Herald on March 21 proclaimed, "if Walt will poeticize a little on a lump of coal from Nova Scotia, and tell us of the civilization and progress that place a governmental tax upon it, we will gratefully welcome him to our homes and hearts in this day of blizzards." [back]


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