AS I PONDER'D IN SILENCE
IN CABIN'D SHIPS AT SEA
TO FOREIGN LANDS
TO A HISTORIAN
TO THEE OLD CAUSE
FOR HIM I SING
WHEN I READ THE BOOK
BEGINNING MY STUDIES
TO THE STATES
ON JOURNEYS THROUGH THE STATES
TO A CERTAIN CANTATRICE
THE SHIP STARTING
I HEAR AMERICA SINGING
WHAT PLACE IS BESIEGED ?
STILL THROUGH THE ONE I SING
SHUT NOT YOUR DOORS
POETS TO COME
STARTING FROM PAUMANOK
SONG OF MYSELF
|CHILDREN OF ADAM.|
FROM PENT-UP ACHING RIVERS
I SING THE BODY ELECTRIC
A WOMAN WAITS FOR ME
ONE HOUR TO MADNESS AND JOY
OUT OF THE ROLLING OCEAN THE CROWD
AGES AND AGES RETURNING AT INTERVALS
WE TWO, HOW LONG WE WERE FOOL'D
O HYMEN ! O HYMENEE !
I AM HE THAT ACHES WITH LOVE
ONCE I PASS'D THROUGH A POPULOUS CITY
I HEARD YOU SOLEMN-SWEET PIPES OF THE ORGAN
FACING WEST FROM CALIFORNIA'S SHORES
AS ADAM EARLY IN THE MORNING
SCENTED HERBAGE OF MY BREAST
WHOEVER YOU ARE HOLDING ME NOW IN HAND
FOR YOU O DEMOCRACY
THESE I SINGING IN SPRING
NOT HEAVEN FROM MY RIBB'D BREAST ONLY
OF THE TERRIBLE DOUBT OF APPEARANCES
THE BASE OF ALL METAPHYSICS
RECORDERS AGES HENCE
WHEN I HEARD AT THE CLOSE OF THE DAY
ARE YOU THE NEW PERSON DRAWN TOWARD ME ?
ROOTS AND LEAVES THEMSELVES ALONE
NOT HEAT FLAMES UP AND CONSUMES
CITY OF ORGIES
BEHOLD THIS SWARTHY FACE
I SAW IN LOUISIANA A LIVE-OAK GROWING
TO A STRANGER
THIS MOMENT YEARNING AND THOUGHTFUL
I HEAR IT WAS CHARGED AGAINST ME
THE PRAIRIE-GRASS DIVIDING
WHEN I PERUSE THE CONQUER'D FAME
WE TWO BOYS TOGETHER CLINGING
A PROMISE TO CALIFORNIA
HERE THE FRAILEST LEAVES OF ME
NO LABOR-SAVING MACHINE
A LEAF FOR HAND IN HAND
EARTH MY LIKENESS
I DREAM'D IN A DREAM
WHAT THINK YOU I TAKE MY PEN IN HAND?
TO THE EAST AND TO THE WEST
SOMETIMES WITH ONE I LOVE
TO A WESTERN BOY
FAST-ANCHOR'D ETERNAL O LOVE
AMONG THE MULTITUDE
O YOU WHOM I OFTEN AND SILENTLY COME
THAT SHADOW MY LIKENESS
FULL OF LIFE NOW
|SALUT AU MONDE !
SONG OF THE OPEN ROAD
CROSSING BROOKLYN FERRY
SONG OF THE ANSWERER
OUR OLD FEUILLAGE
A SONG OF JOYS
SONG OF THE BROAD-AXE
SONG OF THE EXPOSITION
SONG OF THE REDWOOD-TREE
A SONG FOR OCCUPATIONS
A SONG OF THE ROLLING EARTH
YOUTH, DAY, OLD AGE, AND NIGHT
|BIRDS OF PASSAGE.|
PIONEERS! O PIONEERS !
|BIRDS OF PASSAGE||PAGE|
MYSELF AND MINE
YEAR OF METEORS (1859-60)
|A BROADWAY PAGEANT
AS I EBB'D WITH THE OCEAN OF LIFE
TO THE MAN-OF-WAR-BIRD
ABOARD AT A SHIP'S HELM
ON THE BEACH AT NIGHT
THE WORLD BELOW THE BRINE
ON THE BEACH AT NIGHT ALONE
SONG FOR ALL SEAS, ALL SHIPS
AFTER THE SEA-SHIP
|BY THE ROADSIDE.|
EUROPE THE 72D AND 73D YEARS OF THESE STATES
WHEN I HEARD THE LEARN'D ASTRONOMER
O ME ! O LIFE !
TO A PRESIDENT
I SIT AND LOOK OUT
TO RICH GIVERS
THE DALLIANCE OF THE EAGLES
ROAMING IN THOUGHT
A FARM PICTURE
A CHILD'S AMAZE
MOTHER AND BABE
GLIDING O'ER ALL
HAST NEVER COME TO THEE AN HOUR
TO OLD AGE
LOCATIONS AND TIMES
TO IDENTIFY THE 16TH, 17TH, OR 18TH PRESIDENTIAD
BEAT ! BEAT ! DRUMS !
FROM PAUMANOK STARTING I FLY LIKE A BIRD
SONG OF THE BANNER AT DAYBREAK
RISE O DAYS FROM YOUR FATHOMLESS DEEPS
CITY OF SHIPS
THE CENTENARIAN'S STORY
CAVALRY CROSSING A FORD
BIVOUAC ON A MOUNTAIN SIDE
AN ARMY CORPS ON THE MARCH
BY THE BIVOUAC'S FITFUL FLAME
COME UP FROM THE FIELDS FATHER
VIGIL STRANGE I KEPT ON THE FIELD ONE NIGHT
A MARCH IN THE RANKS HARD-PREST
A SIGHT IN CAMP IN THE DAYBREAK GRAY AND DIM
AS TOILSOME I WANDER'D VIRGINIA'S WOODS
NOT THE PILOT
YEAR THAT TREMBLED AND REEL'D BENEATH ME
LONG, TOO LONG AMERICA
GIVE ME THE SPLENDID SILENT SUN
DIRGE FOR TWO VETERANS
OVER THE CARNAGE ROSE PROPHETIC A VOICE
I SAW OLD GENERAL AT BAY
THE ARTILLERYMAN'S VISION
ETHIOPIA SALUTING THE COLORS
NOT YOUTH PERTAINS TO ME
RACE OF VETERANS
WORLD TAKE GOOD NOTICE
O TAN-FACED PRAIRIE-BOY
LOOK DOWN FAIR MOON
HOW SOLEMN AS ONE BY ONE
AS I LAY WITH MY HEAD IN YOUR LAP CAMERADO
TO A CERTAIN CIVILIAN
LO, VICTRESS ON THE PEAKS
SPIRIT WHOSE WORK IS DONE
ADIEU TO A SOLDIER
TURN O LIBERTAD
TO THE LEAVEN'D SOIL THEY TROD
|MEMORIES OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN.|
O CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
HUSH'D BE THE CAMPS TO-DAY
THIS DUST WAS ONCE THE MAN
|BY BLUE ONTARIO'S SHORE
THE RETURN OF THE HEROES
THERE WAS A CHILD WENT FORTH
THE CITY DEAD-HOUSE
TO A FOIL'D EUROPEAN REVOLUTIONAIRE
SONG OF PRUDENCE
WARBLE FOR LILAC-TREE
OUTLINES FOR A TOMB
OUT FROM BEHIND THE MASK
TO HIM WHO WAS CRUCIFIED
YOU FELONS ON TRIAL IN COURTS
LAWS FOR CREATIONS
TO A COMMON PROSTITUTE
I WAS LOOKING A LONG WHILE
SPARKLES FROM THE WHEEL
TO A PUPIL
UNFOLDED OUT OF THE FOLDS
WHAT AM I AFTER ALL
OTHERS MAY PRAISE WHAT THEY LIKE
WHO LEARNS MY LESSON COMPLETE
O STAR OF FRANCE (1870-71)
AN OLD MAN'S THOUGHT OF SCHOOL
WANDERING AT MORN
ITALIAN MUSIC IN DAKOTA
WITH ALL THY GIFTS
THE PRAIRIE STATES
|PROUD MUSIC OF THE STORM
PASSAGE TO INDIA
PRAYER OF COLUMBUS
TO THINK OF TIME
|WHISPERS OF HEAVENLY DEATH.|
WHISPERS OF HEAVENLY DEATH
CHANTING THE SQUARE DEIFIC
OF HIM I LOVE DAY AND NIGHT
YET, YET, YE DOWNCAST HOURS
AS IF A PHANTOM CARESS'D ME
THAT MUSIC ALWAYS ROUND ME
WHAT SHIP PUZZLED AT SEA
A NOISELESS PATIENT SPIDER
O LIVING ALWAYS , ALWAYS DYING
TO ONE SHORTLY TO DIE
NIGHT ON THE PRAIRIES
THE LAST INVOCATION
AS I WATCH'D THE PLOUGHMAN PLOUGHING
PENSIVE AND FALTERING
|THOU MOTHER WITH THY EQUAL BROOD
A PAUMANOK PICTURE
|FROM NOON TO STARRY NIGHT.|
THE MYSTIC TRUMPETER
TO A LOCOMOTIVE IN WINTER
ALL IS TRUTH
A RIDDLE SONG
AH POVERTIES, WINCINGS, AND SULKY RETREATS
WEAVE IN, MY HARDY LIFE
BY BROAD POTOMAC'S SHORE
FROM FAR DAKOTA'S CANONS (JUNE 25, 1876)
WHAT BEST I SEE IN THEE
SPIRIT THAT FORM'D THIS SCENE
AS I WALK THESE BROAD MAJESTIC DAYS
A CLEAR MIDNIGHT
|SONGS OF PARTING.|
YEARS OF THE MODERN
ASHES OF SOLDIERS
SONG AT SUNSET
AS AT THY PORTALS ALSO DEATH
PENSIVE ON HER DEAD GAZING
CAMPS OF GREEN
THE SOBBING OF THE BELLS
AS THEY DRAW TO A CLOSE
JOY, SHIPMATE, JOY
THE UNTOLD WANT
NOW FINALE TO THE SHORE
SO LONG !
ONE'S-SELF I sing, a simple separate person, Yet utter the word Democratic, the word En-Masse. Of physiology from top to toe I sing, Not physiognomy alone nor brain alone is worthy for the Muse, I say the Form complete is worthier far, The Female equally with the Male I sing. Of Life immense in passion, pulse, and power, Cheerful, for freest action form'd under the laws divine, The Modern Man I sing.
|10||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
(Yet methinks certain, or as good as certain, at the last,) the field the world, For life and death, for the Body and for the eternal Soul, Lo, I too am come, chanting the chant of battles, I above all promote brave soldiers.
|12||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
These with the past, Of vanish'd lands, of all the reigns of kings across the sea, Old conquerors, old campaigns, old sailors' voyages, Joining eidolons. Densities, growth, facades, Strata of mountains, soils, rocks, giant trees, Far-born, far-dying, living long, to leave, Eidolons everlasting. Exalte, rapt, ecstatic, The visible but their womb of birth, Of orbic tendencies to shape and shape and shape, The mighty earth-eidolon. All space, all time, (The stars, the terrible perturbations of the suns, Swelling, collapsing, ending, serving their longer, shorter use,) Fill'd with eidolons only. The noiseless myriads, The infinite oceans where the rivers empty, The separate countless free identities, like eyesight, The true realities, eidolons. Not this the world, Nor these the universes, they the universes, Purport and end, ever the permanent life of life, Eidolons, eidolons. Beyond thy lectures learn'd professor, Beyond thy telescope or spectroscope observer keen, beyond all mathematics, Beyond the doctor's surgery, anatomy, beyond the chemist with his chemistry, The entities of entities, eidolons. Unfix'd yet fix'd, Ever shall be, ever have been and are, Sweeping the present to the infinite future, Eidolons, eidolons, eidolons. The prophet and the bard, Shall yet maintain themselves, in higher stages yet, Shall mediate to the Modern, to Democracy, interpret yet to them, God and eidolons.
|14||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
And thee my soul, Joys, ceaseless exercises, exaltations, Thy yearning amply fed at last, prepared to meet, Thy mates, eidolons. Thy body permanent, The body lurking there within thy body, The only purport of the form thou art, the real I myself, An image, an eidolon. Thy very songs not in thy songs, No special strains to sing, none for itself, But from the whole resulting, rising at last and floating, A round full-orb'd eidolon.
|16||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
|18||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
|Page Image||STARTING FROM PAUMANOK.||19|
Aware of the fresh free giver the flowing Missouri, aware of mighty Niagara, Aware of the buffalo herds grazing the plains, the hirsute and strong-breasted bull, Of earth, rocks, Fifth-month flowers experienced, stars, rain, snow, my amaze, Having studied the mocking-bird's tones and the flight of the mountain-hawk, And heard at dusk the unrivall'd one the hermit thrush from the swamp-cedars, Solitary, singing in the West, I strike up for a New World.
|20||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
|Page Image||STARTING FROM PAUMANOK.||21|
Here spirituality the translatress, the openly-avow'd, The ever-tending, the finale of visible forms, The satisfier, after due long-waiting now advancing, Yes here comes my mistress the soul.
|22||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
|Page Image||STARTING FROM PAUMANOK.||23|
|24||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
|Page Image||STARTING FROM PAUMANOK.||25|
And I will thread a thread through my poems that time and events are compact, And that all the things of the universe are perfect miracles, each as profound as any. I will not make poems with reference to parts, But I will make poems, songs, thoughts, with reference to ensemble, And I will not sing with reference to a day, but with reference to all days, And I will not make a poem nor the least part of a poem but has reference to the soul, Because having look'd at the objects of the universe, I find there is no one nor any particle of one but has reference to the soul.
|26||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
Toward the male of the States, and toward the female of the States, Exulting words, words to Democracy's lands. Interlink'd, food-yielding lands! Land of coal and iron! land of gold! land of cotton, sugar, rice! Land of wheat, beef, pork! land of wool and hemp! land of the apple and the grape! Land of the pastoral plains, the grass-fields of the world! land of those sweet-air'd interminable plateaus! Land of the herd, the garden, the healthy house of adobie! Lands where the north-west Columbia winds, and where the south-west Colorado winds! Land of the eastern Chesapeake! land of the Delaware! Land of Ontario, Erie, Huron, Michigan! Land of the Old Thirteen! Massachusetts land! land of Vermont and Connecticut! Land of the ocean shores! land of sierras and peaks! Land of boatmen and sailors! fishermen's land! Inextricable lands! the clutch'd together! the passionate ones! The side by side! the elder and younger brothers! the bony-limb'd! The great women's land! the feminine! the experienced sisters and the inexperienced sisters! Far breath'd land! Arctic braced! Mexican breez'd! the diverse! the compact! The Pennsylvanian! the Virginian! the double Carolinian! O all and each well-loved by me! my intrepid nations! O I at any rate include you all with perfect love! I cannot be discharged from you! not from one any sooner than another! O death! O for all that, I am yet of you unseen this hour with irrepressible love, Walking New England, a friend, a traveller, Splashing my bare feet in the edge of the summer ripples on Paumanok's sands, Crossing the prairies, dwelling again in Chicago, dwelling in every town, Observing shows, births, improvements, structures, arts, Listening to orators and oratresses in public halls, Of and through the States as during life, each man and woman my neighbor, The Louisianian, the Georgian, as near to me, and I as near to him and her, The Mississippian and Arkansian yet with me, and I yet with any of them,
|Page Image||STARTING FROM PAUMANOK.||27|
Yet upon the plains west of the spinal river, yet in my house of adobie, Yet returning eastward, yet in the Seaside State or in Maryland, Yet Kanadian cheerily braving the winter, the snow and ice welcome to me, Yet a true son either of Maine or of the Granite State, or the Narragansett Bay State, or the Empire State, Yet sailing to other shores to annex the same, yet welcoming every new brother, Hereby applying these leaves to the new ones from the hour they unite with the old ones, Coming among the new ones myself to be their companion and equal, coming personally to you now, Enjoining you to acts, characters, spectacles, with me.
|28||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
|Page Image||SONG OF MYSELF.||29|
O a word to clear one's path ahead endlessly! O something ecstatic and undemonstrable! O music wild! O now I triumph- and you shall also; O hand in hand- O wholesome pleasure- O one more desirer and lover! O to haste firm holding- to haste, haste on with me.
|30||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
The smoke of my own breath, Echoes, ripples, buzz'd whispers, love-root, silk-thread, crotch and vine, My respiration and inspiration, the beating of my heart, the passing of blood and air through my lungs, The sniff of green leaves and dry leaves, and of the shore and dark-color'd sea-rocks, and of hay in the barn, The sound of the belch'd words of my voice loos'd to the eddies of the wind, A few light kisses, a few embraces, a reaching around of arms, The play of shine and shade on the trees as the supple boughs wag, The delight alone or in the rush of the streets, or along the fields and hill-sides, The feeling of health, the full-noon trill, the song of me rising from bed and meeting the sun. Have you reckon'd a thousand acres much? have you reckon'd the earth much? Have you practis'd so long to learn to read? Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems? Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems, You shall possess the good of the earth and sun, (there are millions of suns left,) You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books, You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me, You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self.
|Page Image||SONG OF MYSELF.||31|
Out of the dimness opposite equals advance, always substance and increase, always sex, Always a knit of identity, always distinction, always a breed of life. To elaborate is no avail, learn'd and unlearn'd feel that it is so. Sure as the most certain sure, plumb in the uprights, well entretied, braced in the beams, Stout as a horse, affectionate, haughty, electrical, I and this mystery here we stand. Clear and sweet is my soul, and clear and sweet is all that is not my soul. Lack one lacks both, and the unseen is proved by the seen, Till that becomes unseen and receives proof in its turn. Showing the best and dividing it from the worst age vexes age, Knowing the perfect fitness and equanimity of things, while they discuss I am silent, and go bathe and admire myself. Welcome is every organ and attribute of me, and of any man hearty and clean, Not an inch nor a particle of an inch is vile, and none shall be less familiar than the rest. I am satisfied- I see, dance, laugh, sing; As the hugging and loving bed-fellow sleeps at my side through the night, and withdraws at the peep of the day with stealthy tread, Leaving me baskets cover'd with white towels swelling the house with their plenty, Shall I postpone my acceptation and realization and scream at my eyes, That they turn from gazing after and down the road, And forthwith cipher and show to me a cent, Exactly the value of one and exactly the value of two, and which is ahead?
|32||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
My dinner, dress, associates, looks, compliments, dues, The real or fancied indifference of some man or woman I love, The sickness of one of my folks or of myself, or ill-doing or loss or lack of money, or depressions or exaltations, Battles, the horrors of fratricidal war, the fever of doubtful news, the fitful events; These come to me days and nights and go from me again, But they are not the Me myself. Apart from the pulling and hauling stands what I am, Stands amused, complacent, compassionating, idle, unitary, Looks down, is erect, or bends an arm on an impalpable certain rest, Looking with side-curved head curious what will come next, Both in and out of the game and watching and wondering at it. Backward I see in my own days where I sweated through fog with linguists and contenders, I have no mockings or arguments, I witness and wait.
|Page Image||SONG OF MYSELF.||33|
And brown ants in the little wells beneath them, And mossy scabs of the worm fence, heap'd stones, elder, mullein and poke-weed.
|34||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
And the hints about old men and mothers, and the offspring taken soon out of their laps. What do you think has become of the young and old men? And what do you think has become of the women and children? They are alive and well somewhere, The smallest sprout shows there is really no death, And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it, And ceas'd the moment life appear'd. All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses, And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.
|Page Image||SONG OF MYSELF.||35|
|36||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
|Page Image||SONG OF MYSELF.||37|
|38||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
|Page Image||SONG OF MYSELF.||39|
The sharp-hoof'd moose of the north, the cat on the house-sill, the chickadee, the prairie-dog, The litter of the grunting sow as they tug at her teats, The brood of the turkey-hen and she with her half-spread wings, I see in them and myself the same old law. The press of my foot to the earth springs a hundred affections, They scorn the best I can do to relate them. I am enamour'd of growing out-doors, Of men that live among cattle or taste of the ocean or woods, Of the builders and steerers of ships and the wielders of axes and mauls, and the drivers of horses, I can eat and sleep with them week in and week out. What is commonest, cheapest, nearest, easiest, is Me, Me going in for my chances, spending for vast returns, Adorning myself to bestow myself on the first that will take me, Not asking the sky to come down to my good will, Scattering it freely forever.
|40||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
The quadroon girl is sold at the auction-stand, the drunkard nods by the bar-room stove, The machinist rolls up his sleeves, the policeman travels his beat, the gate-keeper marks who pass, The young fellow drives the express-wagon, (I love him, though I do not know him;) The half-breed straps on his light boots to compete in the race, The western turkey-shooting draws old and young, some lean on their rifles, some sit on logs, Out from the crowd steps the marksman, takes his position, levels his piece; The groups of newly-come immigrants cover the wharf or levee, As the woolly-pates hoe in the sugar-field, the overseer views them from his saddle, The bugle calls in the ball-room, the gentlemen run for their partners, the dancers bow to each other, The youth lies awake in the cedar-roof'd garret and harks to the musical rain, The Wolverine sets traps on the creek that helps fill the Huron, The squaw wrapt in her yellow-hemm'd cloth is offering moccasins and bead-bags for sale, The connoisseur peers along the exhibition-gallery with half-shut eyes bent sideways, As the deck-hands make fast the steamboat the plank is thrown for the shore-going passengers, The young sister holds out the skein while the elder sister winds it off in a ball, and stops now and then for the knots, The one-year wife is recovering and happy having a week ago borne her first child, The clean-hair'd Yankee girl works with her sewing-machine or in the factory or mill, The paving-man leans on his two-handed rammer, the reporter's lead flies swiftly over the note-book, the sign-painter is lettering with blue and gold, The canal boy trots on the tow-path, the book-keeper counts at his desk, the shoemaker waxes his thread, The conductor beats time for the band and all the performers follow him, The child is baptized, the convert is making his first professions, The regatta is spread on the bay, the race is begun, (how the white sails sparkle!) The drover watching his drove sings out to them that would stray, The pedler sweats with his pack on his back, (the purchaser higgling about the odd cent;)
|Page Image||SONG OF MYSELF.||41|
The bride unrumples her white dress, the minute-hand of the clock moves slowly, The opium-eater reclines with rigid head and just-open'd lips, The prostitute draggles her shawl, her bonnet bobs on her tipsy and pimpled neck, The crowd laugh at her blackguard oaths, the men jeer and wink to each other, (Miserable! I do not laugh at your oaths nor jeer you;) The President holding a cabinet council is surrounded by the great Secretaries, On the piazza walk three matrons stately and friendly with twined arms, The crew of the fish-smack pack repeated layers of halibut in the hold, The Missourian crosses the plains toting his wares and his cattle, As the fare-collector goes through the train he gives notice by the jingling of loose change, The floor-men are laying the floor, the tinners are tinning the roof, the masons are calling for mortar, In single file each shouldering his hod pass onward the laborers; Seasons pursuing each other the indescribable crowd is gather'd, it is the fourth of Seventh-month, (what salutes of cannon and small arms!) Seasons pursuing each other the plougher ploughs, the mower mows, and the winter-grain falls in the ground; Off on the lakes the pike-fisher watches and waits by the hole in the frozen surface, The stumps stand thick round the clearing, the squatter strikes deep with his axe, Flatboatmen make fast towards dusk near the cotton-wood or pecan-trees, Coon-seekers go through the regions of the Red river or through those drain'd by the Tennessee, or through those of the Arkansas, Torches shine in the dark that hangs on the Chattahooche or Altamahaw, Patriarchs sit at supper with sons and grandsons and great-grandsons around them, In walls of adobie, in canvas tents, rest hunters and trappers after their day's sport, The city sleeps and the country sleeps, The living sleep for their time, the dead sleep for their time, The old husband sleeps by his wife and the young husband sleeps by his wife; And these tend inward to me, and I tend outward to them,
|42||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
And such as it is to be of these more or less I am, And of these one and all I weave the song of myself.
|Page Image||SONG OF MYSELF.||43|
|44||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
Do you guess I have some intricate purpose? Well I have, for the Fourth-month showers have, and the mica on the side of a rock has. Do you take it I would astonish? Does the daylight astonish? does the early redstart twittering through the woods? Do I astonish more than they? This hour I tell things in confidence, I might not tell everybody, but I will tell you.
|Page Image||SONG OF MYSELF.||45|
I know I shall not pass like a child's carlacue cut with a burnt stick at night. I know I am august, I do not trouble my spirit to vindicate itself or be understood, I see that the elementary laws never apologize, (I reckon I behave no prouder than the level I plant my house by, after all.) I exist as I am, that is enough, If no other in the world be aware I sit content, And if each and all be aware I sit content. One world is aware and by far the largest to me, and that is myself, And whether I come to my own to-day or in ten thousand or ten million years, I can cheerfully take it now, or with equal cheerfulness I can wait. My foothold is tenon'd and mortis'd in granite, I laugh at what you call dissolution, And I know the amplitude of time.
|46||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
Press close bare-bosom'd night- press close magnetic nourishing night! Night of south winds- night of the large few stars! Still nodding night- mad naked summer night. Smile O voluptuous cool-breath'd earth! Earth of the slumbering and liquid trees! Earth of departed sunset- earth of the mountains misty-topt! Earth of the vitreous pour of the full moon just tinged with blue! Earth of shine and dark mottling the tide of the river! Earth of the limpid gray of clouds brighter and clearer for my sake! Far-swooping elbow'd earth- rich apple-blossom'd earth! Smile, for your lover comes. Prodigal, you have given me love- therefore I to you give love! O unspeakable passionate love.
|Page Image||SONG OF MYSELF.||47|
My gait is no fault-finder's or rejecter's gait, I moisten the roots of all that has grown. Did you fear some scrofula out of the unflagging pregnancy? Did you guess the celestial laws are yet to be work'd over and rectified? I find one side a balance and the antipedal side a balance, Soft doctrine as steady help as stable doctrine, Thoughts and deeds of the present our rouse and early start. This minute that comes to me over the past decillions, There is no better than it and now. What behaved well in the past or behaves well to-day is not such wonder, The wonder is always and always how there can be a mean man or an infidel.
|48||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
Less the reminders of properties told my words, And more the reminders they of life untold, and of freedom and extrication, And make short account of neuters and geldings, and favor men and women fully equipt, And beat the gong of revolt, and stop with fugitives and them that plot and conspire.
|Page Image||SONG OF MYSELF.||49|
I believe in the flesh and the appetites, Seeing, hearing, feeling, are miracles, and each part and tag of me is a miracle. Divine am I inside and out, and I make holy whatever I touch or am touch'd from, The scent of these arm-pits aroma finer than prayer, This head more than churches, bibles, and all the creeds. If I worship one thing more than another it shall be the spread of my own body, or any part of it, Translucent mould of me it shall be you! Shaded ledges and rests it shall be you! Firm masculine colter it shall be you! Whatever goes to the tilth of me it shall be you! You my rich blood! your milky stream pale strippings of my life! Breast that presses against other breasts it shall be you! My brain it shall be your occult convolutions! Root of wash'd sweet-flag! timorous pond-snipe! nest of guarded duplicate eggs! it shall be you! Mix'd tussled hay of head, beard, brawn, it shall be you! Trickling sap of maple, fibre of manly wheat, it shall be you! Sun so generous it shall be you! Vapors lighting and shading my face it shall be you! You sweaty brooks and dews it shall be you! Winds whose soft-tickling genitals rub against me it shall be you! Broad muscular fields, branches of live oak, loving lounger in my winding paths, it shall be you! Hands I have taken, face I have kiss'd, mortal I have ever touch'd, it shall be you. I dote on myself, there is that lot of me and all so luscious, Each moment and whatever happens thrills me with joy, I cannot tell how my ankles bend, nor whence the cause of my faintest wish, Nor the cause of the friendship I emit, nor the cause of the friendship I take again. That I walk up my stoop, I pause to consider if it really be, A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books. To behold the day-break! The little light fades the immense and diaphanous shadows, The air tastes good to my palate.
|50||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
Hefts of the moving world at innocent gambols silently rising freshly exuding, Scooting obliquely high and low. Something I cannot see puts upward libidinous prongs, Seas of bright juice suffuse heaven. The earth by the sky staid with, the daily close of their junction, The heav'd challenge from the east that moment over my head, The mocking taunt, See then whether you shall be master!
|Page Image||SONG OF MYSELF.||51|
|52||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
Steep'd amid honey'd morphine, my windpipe throttled in fakes of death, At length let up again to feel the puzzle of puzzles, And that we call Being.
|Page Image||SONG OF MYSELF.||53|
I went myself first to the headland, my own hands carried me there. You villain touch! what are you doing? my breath is tight in its throat, Unclench your floodgates, you are too much for me.
|54||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
And the tree-toad is a chef-d'oeuvre for the highest, And the running blackberry would adorn the parlors of heaven, And the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all machinery, And the cow crunching with depress'd head surpasses any statue, And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels. I find I incorporate gneiss, coal, long-threaded moss, fruits, grains, esculent roots, And am stucco'd with quadrupeds and birds all over, And have distanced what is behind me for good reasons, But call any thing back again when I desire it. In vain the speeding or shyness, In vain the plutonic rocks send their old heat against my approach, In vain the mastodon retreats beneath its own powder'd bones, In vain objects stand leagues off and assume manifold shapes, In vain the ocean settling in hollows and the great monsters lying low, In vain the buzzard houses herself with the sky, In vain the snake slides through the creepers and logs, In vain the elk takes to the inner passes of the woods, In vain the razor-bill'd auk sails far north to Labrador, I follow quickly, I ascend to the nest in the fissure of the cliff.
|Page Image||SONG OF MYSELF.||55|
Myself moving forward then and now and forever, Gathering and showing more always and with velocity, Infinite and omnigenous, and the like of these among them, Not too exclusive toward the reachers of my remembrancers, Picking out here one that I love, and now go with him on brotherly terms. A gigantic beauty of a stallion, fresh and responsive to my caresses, Head high in the forehead, wide between the ears, Limbs glossy and supple, tail dusting the ground, Eyes full of sparkling wickedness, ears finely cut, flexibly moving. His nostrils dilate as my heels embrace him, His well-built limbs tremble with pleasure as we race around and return. I but use you a minute, then I resign you, stallion, Why do I need your paces when I myself out-gallop them? Even as I stand or sit passing faster than you.
|56||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
Where the black bear is searching for roots or honey, where the beaver pats the mud with his paddle-shaped tall; Over the growing sugar, over the yellow-flower'd cotton plant, over the rice in its low moist field, Over the sharp-peak'd farm house, with its scallop'd scum and slender shoots from the gutters, Over the western persimmon, over the long-leav'd corn, over the delicate blue-flower flax, Over the white and brown buckwheat, a hummer and buzzer there with the rest, Over the dusky green of the rye as it ripples and shades in the breeze; Scaling mountains, pulling myself cautiously up, holding on by low scragged limbs, Walking the path worn in the grass and beat through the leaves of the brush, Where the quail is whistling betwixt the woods and the wheat-lot, Where the bat flies in the Seventh-month eve, where the great goldbug drops through the dark, Where the brook puts out of the roots of the old tree and flows to the meadow, Where cattle stand and shake away flies with the tremulous shuddering of their hides, Where the cheese-cloth hangs in the kitchen, where andirons straddle the hearth-slab, where cobwebs fall in festoons from the rafters; Where trip-hammers crash, where the press is whirling its cylinders, Wherever the human heart beats with terrible throes under its ribs, Where the pear-shaped balloon is floating aloft, (floating in it myself and looking composedly down,) Where the life-car is drawn on the slip-noose, where the heat hatches pale-green eggs in the dented sand, Where the she-whale swims with her calf and never forsakes it, Where the steam-ship trails hind-ways its long pennant of smoke, Where the fin of the shark cuts like a black chip out of the water, Where the half-burn'd brig is riding on unknown currents, Where shells grow to her slimy deck, where the dead are corrupting below; Where the dense-starr'd flag is borne at the head of the regiments, Approaching Manhattan up by the long-stretching island, Under Niagara, the cataract falling like a veil over my countenance, Upon a door-step, upon the horse-block of hard wood outside, Upon the race-course, or enjoying picnics or jigs or a good game of base-ball,
|Page Image||SONG OF MYSLEF.||57|
At he-festivals, with blackguard gibes, ironical license, bull-dances, drinking, laughter, At the cider-mill tasting the sweets of the brown mash, sucking the juice through a straw, At apple-peelings wanting kisses for all the red fruit I find, At musters, beach-parties, friendly bees, huskings, house-raisings; Where the mocking-bird sounds his delicious gurgles, cackles, screams, weeps, Where the hay-rick stands in the barn-yard, where the dry-stalks are scatter'd, where the brood-cow waits in the hovel, Where the bull advances to do his masculine work, where the stud to the mare, where the cock is treading the hen, Where the heifers browse, where geese nip their food with short jerks, Where sun-down shadows lengthen over the limitless and lonesome prairie, Where herds of buffalo make a crawling spread of the square miles far and near, Where the humming-bird shimmers, where the neck of the long-lived swan is curving and winding, Where the laughing-gull scoots by the shore, where she laughs her near-human laugh, Where bee-hives range on a gray bench in the garden half hid by the high weeds, Where band-neck'd partridges roost in a ring on the ground with their heads out, Where burial coaches enter the arch'd gates of a cemetery, Where winter wolves bark amid wastes of snow and icicled trees, Where the yellow-crown'd heron comes to the edge of the marsh at night and feeds upon small crabs, Where the splash of swimmers and divers cools the warm noon, Where the katy-did works her chromatic reed on the walnut-tree over the well, Through patches of citrons and cucumbers with silver-wired leaves, Through the salt-lick or orange glade, or under conical firs, Through the gymnasium, through the curtain'd saloon, through the office or public hall; Pleas'd with the native and pleas'd with the foreign, pleas'd with the new and old, Pleas'd with the homely woman as well as the handsome, Pleas'd with the quakeress as she puts off her bonnet and talks melodiously, Pleas'd with the tune of the choir of the whitewash'd church, Pleas'd with the earnest words of the sweating Methodist preacher, impress'd seriously at the camp-meeting;
|58||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
Looking in at the shop-windows of Broadway the whole forenoon, flatting the flesh of my nose on the thick plate-glass, Wandering the same afternoon with my face turn'd up to the clouds, or down a lane or along the beach, My right and left arms round the sides of two friends, and I in the middle; Coming home with the silent and dark-cheek'd bush-boy, (behind me he rides at the drape of the day,) Far from the settlements studying the print of animals' feet, or the moccasin print, By the cot in the hospital reaching lemonade to a feverish patient, Nigh the coffin'd corpse when all is still, examining with a candle; Voyaging to every port to dicker and adventure, Hurrying with the modern crowd as eager and fickle as any, Hot toward one I hate, ready in my madness to knife him, Solitary at midnight in my back yard, my thoughts gone from me a long while, Walking the old hills of Judaea with the beautiful gentle God by my side, Speeding through space, speeding through heaven and the stars, Speeding amid the seven satellites and the broad ring, and the diameter of eighty thousand miles, Speeding with tail'd meteors, throwing fire-balls like the rest, Carrying the crescent child that carries its own full mother in its belly, Storming, enjoying, planning, loving, cautioning, Backing and filling, appearing and disappearing, I tread day and night such roads. I visit the orchards of spheres and look at the product, And look at quintillions ripen'd and look at quintillions green. I fly those flights of a fluid and swallowing soul, My course runs below the soundings of plummets. I help myself to material and immaterial, No guard can shut me off, no law prevent me. I anchor my ship for a little while only, My messengers continually cruise away or bring their returns to me. I go hunting polar furs and the seal, leaping chasms with a pike-pointed staff, clinging to topples of brittle and blue. I ascend to the foretruck,
|Page Image||SONG OF MYSELF.||59|
I take my place late at night in the crow's-nest, We sail the arctic sea, it is plenty light enough, Through the clear atmosphere I stretch around on the wonderful beauty, The enormous masses of ice pass me and I pass them, the scenery is plain in all directions, The white-topt mountains show in the distance, I fling out my fancies toward them, We are approaching some great battle-field in which we are soon to be engaged, We pass the colossal outposts of the encampment, we pass with still feet and caution, Or we are entering by the suburbs some vast and ruin'd city, The blocks and fallen architecture more than all the living cities of the globe. I am a free companion, I bivouac by invading watchfires, I turn the bridgroom out of bed and stay with the bride myself, I tighten her all night to my thighs and lips. My voice is the wife's voice, the screech by the rail of the stairs, They fetch my man's body up dripping and drown'd. I understand the large hearts of heroes, The courage of present times and all times, How the skipper saw the crowded and rudderless wreck of the steamship, and Death chasing it up and down the storm, How he knuckled tight and gave not back an inch, and was faithful of days and faithful of nights, And chalk'd in large letters on a board, Be of good cheer, we will not desert you; How he follow'd with them and tack'd with them three days and would not give it up, How he saved the drifting company at last, How the lank loose-gown'd women look'd when boated from the side of their prepared graves, How the silent old-faced infants and the lifted sick, and the sharp-lipp'd unshaved men; All this I swallow, it tastes good, I like it well, it becomes mine, I am the man, I suffer'd, I was there. The disdain and calmness of martyrs, The mother of old, condemn'd for a witch, burnt with dry wood, her children gazing on, The hounded slave that flags in the race, leans by the fence, blowing, cover'd with sweat,
|60||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
The twinges that sting like needles his legs and neck, the murderous buckshot and the bullets, All these I feel or am. I am the hounded slave, I wince at the bite of the dogs, Hell and despair are upon me, crack and again crack the marksmen, I clutch the rails of the fence, my gore dribs, thinn'd with the ooze of my skin, I fall on the weeds and stones, The riders spur their unwilling horses, haul close, Taunt my dizzy ears and beat me violently over the head with whip-stocks. Agonies are one of my changes of garments, I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person, My hurts turn livid upon me as I lean on a cane and observe. I am the mash'd fireman with breast-bone broken, Tumbling walls buried me in their debris, Heat and smoke I inspired, I heard the yelling shouts of my comrades, I heard the distant click of their picks and shovels, They have clear'd the beams away, they tenderly lift me forth. I lie in the night air in my red shirt, the pervading hush is for my sake, Painless after all I lie exhausted but not so unhappy, White and beautiful are the faces around me, the heads are bared of their fire-caps, The kneeling crowd fades with the light of the torches. Distant and dead resuscitate, They show as the dial or move as the hands of me, I am the clock myself. I am an old artillerist, I tell of my fort's bombardment, I am there again. Again the long roll of the drummers, Again the attacking cannon, mortars, Again to my listening ears the cannon responsive. I take part, I see and hear the whole,
|Page Image||SONG OF MYSELF.||61|
The cries, curses, roar, the plaudits for well-aim'd shots, The ambulanza slowly passing trailing its red drip, Workmen searching after damages, making indispensable repairs, The fall of grenades through the rent roof, the fan-shaped explosion, The whizz of limbs, heads, stone, wood, iron, high in the air. Again gurgles the mouth of my dying general, he furiously waves with his hand, He gasps through the clot Mind not me- mind- the entrenchments.
|62||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
Some half-kill'd attempted to crawl away, These were despatch'd with bayonets or batter'd with the blunts of muskets, A youth not seventeen years old seiz'd his assassin till two more came to release him, The three were all torn and cover'd with the boy's blood. At eleven o'clock began the burning of the bodies; That is the tale of the murder of the four hundred and twelve young men.
|Page Image||SONG OF MYSELF.||63|
Only three guns are in use, One is directed by the captain himself against the enemy's main-mast, Two well serv'd with grape and canister silence his musketry and clear his decks. The tops alone second the fire of this little battery, especially the main-top, They hold out bravely during the whole of the action. Not a moment's cease, The leaks gain fast on the pumps, the fire eats toward the powder-magazine. One of the pumps has been shot away, it is generally thought we are sinking. Serene stands the little captain, He is not hurried, his voice is neither high nor low, His eyes give more light to us than our battle-lanterns. Toward twelve there in the beams of the moon they surrender to us.
|64||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
Wheeze, cluck, swash of falling blood, short wild scream, and long, dull, tapering groan, These so, these irretrievable.
|Page Image||SONG OF MYSELF.||65|
I remember now, I resume the overstaid fraction, The grave of rock multiplies what has been confided to it, or to any graves, Corpses rise, gashes heal, fastenings roll from me. I troop forth replenish'd with supreme power, one of an average unending procession, Inland and sea-coast we go, and pass all boundary lines, Our swift ordinances on their way over the whole earth, The blossoms we wear in our hats the growth of thousands of years. Eleves, I salute you! come forward! Continue your annotations, continue your questionings.
|66||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
And might tell that pining I have, that pulse of my nights and days. Behold, I do not give lectures or a little charity, When I give I give myself. You there, impotent, loose in the knees, Open your scarf'd chops till I blow grit within you, Spread your palms and lift the flaps of your pockets, I am not to be denied, I compel, I have stores plenty and to spare, And any thing I have I bestow. I do not ask who you are, that is not important to me, You can do nothing and be nothing but what I will infold you. To cotton-field drudge or cleaner of privies I lean, On his right cheek I put the family kiss, And in my soul I swear I never will deny him. On women fit for conception I start bigger and nimbler babes. (This day I am jetting the stuff of far more arrogant republics.) To any one dying, thither I speed and twist the knob of the door. Turn the bed-clothes toward the foot of the bed, Let the physician and the priest go home. I seize the descending man and raise him with resistless will, O despairer, here is my neck, By God, you shall not go down! hang your whole weight upon me. I dilate you with tremendous breath, I buoy you up, Every room of the house do I fill with an arm'd force, Lovers of me, bafflers of graves. Sleep- I and they keep guard all night, Not doubt, not decease shall dare to lay finger upon you, I have embraced you, and henceforth possess you to myself, And when you rise in the morning you will find what I tell you is so.
|Page Image||SONG OF MYSELF.||67|
I heard what was said of the universe, Heard it and heard it of several thousand years; It is middling well as far as it goes- but is that all? Magnifying and applying come I, Outbidding at the start the old cautious hucksters, Taking myself the exact dimensions of Jehovah, Lithographing Kronos, Zeus his son, and Hercules his grandson, Buying drafts of Osiris, Isis, Belus, Brahma, Buddha, In my portfolio placing Manito loose, Allah on a leaf, the crucifix engraved, With Odin and the hideous-faced Mexitli and every idol and image, Taking them all for what they are worth and not a cent more, Admitting they were alive and did the work of their days, (They bore mites as for unfledg'd birds who have now to rise and fly and sing for themselves,) Accepting the rough deific sketches to fill out better in myself, bestowing them freely on each man and woman I see, Discovering as much or more in a framer framing a house, Putting higher claims for him there with his roll'd-up sleeves driving the mallet and chisel, Not objecting to special revelations, considering a curl of smoke or a hair on the back of my hand just as curious as any revelation, Lads ahold of fire-engines and hook-and-ladder ropes no less to me than the gods of the antique wars, Minding their voices peal through the crash of destruction, Their brawny limbs passing safe over charr'd laths, their white foreheads whole and unhurt out of the flames; By the mechanic's wife with her babe at her nipple interceding for every person born, Three scythes at harvest whizzing in a row from three lusty angels with shirts bagg'd out at their waists, The snag-tooth'd hostler with red hair redeeming sins past and to come, Selling all he possesses, traveling on foot to fee lawyers for his brother and sit by him while he is tried for forgery; What was strewn in the amplest strewing the square rod about me, and not filling the square rod then, The bull and the bug never worshipp'd half enough, Dung and dirt more admirable than was dream'd, The supernatural of no account, myself waiting my time to be one of the supremes, The day getting ready for me when I shall do as much good as the best, and be as prodigious;
|68||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
By my life-lumps! becoming already a creator, Putting myself here and now to the ambush'd womb of the shadows.
|Page Image||SONG OF MYSELF.||69|
I am aware who they are, (they are positively not worms or fleas,) I acknowledge the duplicates of myself, the weakest and shallowest is deathless with me, What I do and say the same waits for them, Every thought that flounders in me the same flounders in them. I know perfectly well my own egotism, Know my omnivorous lines and must not write any less, And would fetch you whoever you are flush with myself. Not words of routine this song of mine, But abruptly to question, to leap beyond yet nearer bring; This printed and bound book- but the printer and the printing-office boy? The well-taken photographs- but your wife or friend close and solid in your arms? The black ship mail'd with iron, her mighty guns in her turrets- but the pluck of the captain and engineers? In the houses the dishes and fare and furniture- but the host and hostess, and the look out of their eyes? The sky up there- yet here or next door, or across the way? The saints and sages in history- but you yourself? Sermons, creeds, theology- but the fathomless human brain, And what is reason? and what is love? and what is life?
|70||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
To the mass kneeling or the puritan's prayer rising, or sitting patiently in a pew, Ranting and frothing in my insane crisis, or waiting dead-like till my spirit arouses me, Looking forth on pavement and land, or outside of pavement and land, Belonging to the winders of the circuit of circuits. One of that centripetal and centrifugal gang I turn and talk like man leaving charges before a journey. Down-hearted doubters dull and excluded, Frivolous, sullen, moping, angry, affected, dishearten'd, atheistical, I know every one of you, I know the sea of torment, doubt, despair and unbelief. How the flukes splash! How they contort rapid as lightning, with spasms and spouts of blood! Be at peace bloody flukes of doubters and sullen mopers, I take my place among you as much as among any, The past is the push of you, me, all, precisely the same, And what is yet untried and afterward is for you, me, all, precisely the same. I do not know what is untried and afterward, But I know it will in its turn prove sufficient, and cannot fail. Each who passes is consider'd, each who stops is consider'd, not single one can it fall. It cannot fall the young man who died and was buried, Nor the young woman who died and was put by his side, Nor the little child that peep'd in at the door, and then drew back and was never seen again, Nor the old man who has lived without purpose, and feels it with bitterness worse than gall, Nor him in the poor house tubercled by rum and the bad disorder, Nor the numberless slaughter'd and wreck'd, nor the brutish koboo call'd the ordure of humanity, Nor the sacs merely floating with open mouths for food to slip in, Nor any thing in the earth, or down in the oldest graves of the earth,
|Page Image||SONG OF MYSELF.||71|
Nor any thing in the myriads of spheres, nor the myriads of myriads that inhabit them, Nor the present, nor the least wisp that is known.
|72||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
Cycles ferried my cradle, rowing and rowing like cheerful boatmen, For room to me stars kept aside in their own rings, They sent influences to look after what was to hold me. Before I was born out of my mother generations guided me, My embryo has never been torpid, nothing could overlay it. For it the nebula cohered to an orb, The long slow strata piled to rest it on, Vast vegetables gave it sustenance, Monstrous sauroids transported it in their mouths and deposited it with care. All forces have been steadily employ'd to complete and delight me, Now on this spot I stand with my robust soul.
|Page Image||SONG OF MYSELF.||73|
My sun has his sun and round him obediently wheels, He joins with his partners a group of superior circuit, And greater sets follow, making specks of the greatest inside them. There is no stoppage and never can be stoppage, If I, you, and the worlds, and all beneath or upon their surfaces, were this moment reduced back to a pallid float, it would not avail the long run, We should surely bring up again where we now stand, And surely go as much farther, and then farther and farther. A few quadrillions of eras, a few octillions of cubic leagues, do not hazard the span or make it impatient, They are but parts, any thing is but a part. See ever so far, there is limitless space outside of that, Count ever so much, there is limitless time around that. My rendezvous is appointed, it is certain, The Lord will be there and wait till I come on perfect terms, The great Camerado, the lover true for whom I pine will be there.
|74||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
Shoulder your duds dear son, and I will mine, and let us hasten forth, Wonderful cities and free nations we shall fetch as we go. If you tire, give me both burdens, and rest the chuff of your hand on my hip, And in due time you shall repay the same service to me, For after we start we never lie by again. This day before dawn I ascended a hill and look'd at the crowded heaven, And I said to my spirit When we become the enfolders of those orbs, and the pleasure and knowledge of every thing in them, shall we be fill'd and satisfied then? And my spirit said No, we but level that lift to pass and continue beyond. You are also asking me questions and I hear you, I answer that I cannot answer, you must find out for yourself. Sit a while dear son, Here are biscuits to eat and here is milk to drink, But as soon as you sleep and renew yourself in sweet clothes, I kiss you with a good-by kiss and open the gate for your egress hence. Long enough have you dream'd contemptible dreams, Now I wash the gum from your eyes, You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of every moment of your life. Long have you timidly waded holding a plank by the shore, Now I will you to be a bold swimmer, To jump off in the midst of the sea, rise again, nod to me, shout, and laughingly dash with your hair.
|Page Image||SONG OF MYSELF.||75|
Wicked rather than virtuous out of conformity or fear, Fond of his sweetheart, relishing well his steak, Unrequited love or a slight cutting him worse than sharp steel cuts, First-rate to ride, to fight, to hit the bull's eye, to sail a skiff, to sing a song or play on the banjo, Preferring scars and the beard and faces pitted with small-pox over all latherers, And those well-tann'd to those that keep out of the sun. I teach straying from me, yet who can stray from me? I follow you whoever you are from the present hour, My words itch at your ears till you understand them. I do not say these things for a dollar or to fill up the time while I wait for a boat, (It is you talking just as much as myself, I act as the tongue of you, Tied in your mouth, in mine it begins to be loosen'd.) I swear I will never again mention love or death inside a house, And I swear I will never translate myself at all, only to him or her who privately stays with me in the open air. If you would understand me go to the heights or water-shore, The nearest gnat is an explanation, and a drop or motion of waves key, The maul, the oar, the hand-saw, second my words. No shutter'd room or school can commune with me, But roughs and little children better than they. The young mechanic is closest to me, he knows me well, The woodman that takes his axe and jug with him shall take me with him all day, The farm-boy ploughing in the field feels good at the sound of my voice, In vessels that sail my words sail, I go with fishermen and seamen and love them. The soldier camp'd or upon the march is mine, On the night ere the pending battle many seek me, and I do not fail them, On that solemn night (it may be their last) those that know me seek me.
|76||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
My face rubs to the hunter's face when he lies down alone in his blanket, The driver thinking of me does not mind the jolt of his wagon, The young mother and old mother comprehend me, The girl and the wife rest the needle a moment and forget where they are, They and all would resume what I have told them.
|Page Image||SONG OF MYSELF.||77|
|78||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
Perhaps I might tell more. Outlines! I plead for my brothers and sisters. Do you see O my brothers and sisters? It is not chaos or death- it is form, union, plan- it is eternal life- it is Happiness.
|Page Image||CHILDREN OF ADAM.||79|
You will hardly know who I am or what I mean, But I shall be good health to you nevertheless, And filter and fibre your blood. Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged, Missing me one place search another, I stop somewhere waiting for you.
|80||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
O for you whoever you are your correlative body! O it, more than all else, you delighting!) From the hungry gnaw that eats me night and day, From native moments, from bashful pains, singing them, Seeking something yet unfound though I have diligently sought it many a long year, Singing the true song of the soul fitful at random, Renascent with grossest Nature or among animals, Of that, of them and what goes with them my poems informing, Of the smell of apples and lemons, of the pairing of birds, Of the wet of woods, of the lapping of waves, Of the mad pushes of waves upon the land, I them chanting, The overture lightly sounding, the strain anticipating, The welcome nearness, the sight of the perfect body, The swimmer swimming naked in the bath, or motionless on his back lying and floating, The female form approaching, I pensive, love-flesh tremulous aching, The divine list for myself or you or for any one making, The face, the limbs, the index from head to foot, and what it arouses, The mystic deliria, the madness amorous, the utter abandonment, (Hark close and still what I now whisper to you, I love you, O you entirely possess me, O that you and I escape from the rest and go utterly off, free and lawless, Two hawks in the air, two fishes swimming in the sea not more lawless than we;) The furious storm through me careering, I passionately trembling. The oath of the inseparableness of two together, of the woman that loves me and whom I love more than my life, that oath swearing, (O I willingly stake all for you, O let me be lost if it must be so! O you and I! what is it to us what the rest do or think? What is all else to us? only that we enjoy each other and exhaust each other if it must be so;) From the master, the pilot I yield the vessel to, The general commanding me, commanding all, from him permission taking, From time the programme hastening, (I have loiter'd too long as it is,) From sex, from the warp and from the woof, From privacy, from frequent repinings alone, From plenty of persons near and yet the right person not near,
|Page Image||CHILDREN OF ADAM.||81|
From the soft sliding of hands over me and thrusting of fingers through my hair and beard, From the long sustain'd kiss upon the mouth or bosom, From the close pressure that makes me or any man drunk, fainting with excess, From what the divine husband knows, from the work of fatherhood, From exultation, victory and relief, from the bedfellow's embrace in the night, From the act-poems of eyes, hands, hips and bosoms, From the cling of the trembling arm, From the bending curve and the clinch, From side by side the pliant coverlet off-throwing, From the one so unwilling to have me leave, and me just as unwilling to leave, (Yet a moment O tender waiter, and I return,) From the hour of shining stars and dropping dews, From the night a moment I emerging flitting out, Celebrate you act divine and you children prepared for, And you stalwart loins.
|82||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
It is in his limbs and joints also, it is curiously in the joints of his hips and wrists, It is in his walk, the carriage of his neck, the flex of his waist and knees, dress does not hide him, The strong sweet quality he has strikes through the cotton and broadcloth, To see him pass conveys as much as the best poem, perhaps more, You linger to see his back, and the back of his neck and shoulder-side. The sprawl and fulness of babes, the bosoms and heads of women, the folds of their dress, their style as we pass in the street, the contour of their shape downwards, The swimmer naked in the swimming-bath, seen as he swims through the transparent green-shine, or lies with his face up and rolls silently to and from the heave of the water, The bending forward and backward of rowers in row-boats, the horse-man in his saddle, Girls, mothers, house-keepers, in all their performances, The group of laborers seated at noon-time with their open dinner-kettles, and their wives waiting, The female soothing a child, the farmer's daughter in the garden or cow-yard, The young fellow hosing corn, the sleigh-driver driving his six horses through the crowd, The wrestle of wrestlers, two apprentice-boys, quite grown, lusty, good-natured, native-born, out on the vacant lot at sundown after work, The coats and caps thrown down, the embrace of love and resistance, The upper-hold and under-hold, the hair rumpled over and blinding the eyes; The march of firemen in their own costumes, the play of masculine muscle through clean-setting trowsers and waist-straps, The slow return from the fire, the pause when the bell strikes suddenly again, and the listening on the alert, The natural, perfect, varied attitudes, the bent head, the curv'd neck and the counting; Such-like I love- I loosen myself, pass freely, am at the mother's breast with the little child, Swim with the swimmers, wrestle with wrestlers, march in line with the firemen, and pause, listen, count.
|Page Image||CHILDREN OF ADAM.||83|
This man was a wonderful vigor, calmness, beauty of person, The shape of his head, the pale yellow and white of his hair and beard, the immeasurable meaning of his black eyes, the richness and breadth of his manners, These I used to go and visit him to see, he was wise also, He was six feet tall, he was over eighty years old, his sons were massive, clean, bearded, tan-faced, handsome, They and his daughters loved him, all who saw him loved him, They did not love him by allowance, they loved him with personal love, He drank water only, the blood show'd like scarlet through the clear-brown skin of his face, He was a frequent gunner and fisher, he sail'd his boat himself, he had a fine one presented to him by a ship-joiner, he had fowling-pieces presented to him by men that loved him, When he went with his five sons and many grand-sons to hunt or fish, you would pick him out as the most beautiful and vigorous of the gang, You would wish long and long to be with him, you would wish to sit by him in the boat that you and he might touch each other.
|84||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
Mad filaments, ungovernable shoots play out of it, the response likewise ungovernable, Hair, bosom, hips, bend of legs, negligent falling hands all diffused, mine too diffused, Ebb stung by the flow and flow stung by the ebb, love-flesh swelling and deliciously aching, Limitless limpid jets of love hot and enormous, quivering jelly of love, white-blow and delirious nice, Bridegroom night of love working surely and softly into the prostrate dawn, Undulating into the willing and yielding day, Lost in the cleave of the clasping and sweet-flesh'd day. This the nucleus- after the child is born of woman, man is born of woman, This the bath of birth, this the merge of small and large, and the outlet again. Be not ashamed women, your privilege encloses the rest, and is the exit of the rest, You are the gates of the body, and you are the gates of the soul. The female contains all qualities and tempers them, She is in her place and moves with perfect balance, She is all things duly veil'd, she is both passive and active, She is to conceive daughters as well as sons, and sons as well as daughters. As I see my soul reflected in Nature, As I see through a mist, One with inexpressible completeness, sanity, beauty, See the bent head and arms folded over the breast, the Female I see.
|Page Image||CHILDREN OF ADAM.||85|
Whatever the survey, whatever the sea and the sail he strikes soundings at last only here, (Where else does he strike soundings except here?) The man's body is sacred and the woman's body is sacred, No matter who it is, it is sacred- is it the meanest one in the laborers' gang? Is it one of the dull-faced immigrants just landed on the wharf? Each belongs here or anywhere just as much as the well-off, just as much as you, Each has his or her place in the procession. (All is a procession, The universe is a procession with measured and perfect motion.) Do you know so much yourself that you call the meanest ignorant? Do you suppose you have a right to a good sight, and he or she has no right to a sight? Do you think matter has cohered together from its diffuse float, and the soil is on the surface, and water runs and vegetation sprouts, For you only, and not for him and her?
|86||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
Within there runs blood, The same old blood! the same red-running blood! There swells and jets a heart, there all passions, desires, reachings, aspirations, (Do you think they are not there because they are not express'd in parlors and lecture-rooms?) This is not only one man, this the father of those who shall be fathers in their turns, In him the start of populous states and rich republics, Of him countless immortal lives with countless embodiments and enjoyments. How do you know who shall come from the offspring of his offspring through the centuries? (Who might you find you have come from yourself, if you could trace back through the centuries?)
|Page Image||CHILDREN OF ADAM.||87|
I believe the likes of you shall stand or fall with my poems, and that they are my poems, Man's, woman's, child, youth's, wife's, husband's, mother's, father's, young man's, young woman's poems, Head, neck, hair, ears, drop and tympan of the ears, Eyes, eye-fringes, iris of the eye, eyebrows, and the waking or sleeping of the lids, Mouth, tongue, lips, teeth, roof of the mouth, jaws, and the jaw-hinges, Nose, nostrils of the nose, and the partition, Cheeks, temples, forehead, chin, throat, back of the neck, neck-slue, Strong shoulders, manly beard, scapula, hind-shoulders, and the ample side-round of the chest, Upper-arm, armpit, elbow-socket, lower-arm, arm-sinews, arm-bones, Wrist and wrist-joints, hand, palm, knuckles, thumb, forefinger, finger-joints, finger-nails, Broad breast-front, curling hair of the breast, breast-bone, breast-side, Ribs, belly, backbone, joints of the backbone, Hips, hip-sockets, hip-strength, inward and outward round, man-balls, man-root, Strong set of thighs, well carrying the trunk above, Leg-fibres, knee, knee-pan, upper-leg, under-leg, Ankles, instep, foot-ball, toes, toe-joints, the heel; All attitudes, all the shapeliness, all the belongings of my or your body or of any one's body, male or female, The lung-sponges, the stomach-sac, the bowels sweet and clean, The brain in its folds inside the skull-frame, Sympathies, heart-valves, palate-valves, sexuality, maternity, Womanhood, and all that is a woman, and the man that comes from woman, The womb, the teats, nipples, breast-milk, tears, laughter, weeping, love-looks, love-perturbations and risings, The voice, articulation, language, whispering, shouting aloud, Food, drink, pulse, digestion, sweat, sleep, walking, swimming, Poise on the hips, leaping, reclining, embracing, arm-curving and tightening, The continual changes of the flex of the mouth, and around the eyes, The skin, the sunburnt shade, freckles, hair, The curious sympathy one feels when feeling with the hand the naked meat of the body, The circling rivers the breath, and breathing it in and out,
|88||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
The beauty of the waist, and thence of the hips, and thence downward toward the knees, The thin red jellies within you or within me, the bones and the marrow in the bones, The exquisite realization of health; O I say these are not the parts and poems of the body only, but of the soul, O I say now these are the soul!
|Page Image||CHILDREN OF ADAM.||89|
I draw you close to me, you women, I cannot let you go, I would do you good, I am for you, and you are for me, not only for our own sake, but for others' sakes, Envelop'd in you sleep greater heroes and bards, They refuse to awake at the touch of any man but me. It is I, you women, I make my way, I am stern, acrid, large, undissuadable, but I love you, I do not hurt you any more than is necessary for you, I pour the stuff to start sons and daughters fit for these States, I press with slow rude muscle, I brace myself effectually, I listen to no entreaties, I dare not withdraw till I deposit what has so long accumulated within me. Through you I drain the pent-up rivers of myself, In you I wrap a thousand onward years, On you I graft the grafts of the best-beloved of me and America, The drops I distil upon you shall grow fierce and athletic girls, new artists, musicians, and singers, The babes I beget upon you are to beget babes in their turn, I shall demand perfect men and women out of my love-spendings, I shall expect them to interpenetrate with others, as I and you inter-penetrate now, I shall count on the fruits of the gushing showers of them, as I count on the fruits of the gushing showers I give now, I shall look for loving crops from the birth, life, death, immortality, I plant so lovingly now.
|90||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
This poem drooping shy and unseen that I always carry, and that all men carry, (Know once for all, avow'd on purpose, wherever are men like me, are our lusty lurking masculine poems,) Love-thoughts, love-juice, love-odor, love-yielding, love-climbers, and the climbing sap, Arms and hands of love, lips of love, phallic thumb of love, breasts of love, bellies press'd and glued together with love, Earth of chaste love, life that is only life after love, The body of my love, the body of the woman I love, the body of the man, the body of the earth, Soft forenoon airs that blow from the south-west, The hairy wild-bee that murmurs and hankers up and down, that gripes the full-grown lady-flower, curves upon her with amorous firm legs, takes his will of her, and holds himself tremulous and tight till he is satisfied; The wet of woods through the early hours, Two sleepers at night lying close together as they sleep, one with an arm slanting down across and below the waist of the other, The smell of apples, aromas from crush'd sage-plant, mint, birch-bark, The boy's longings, the glow and pressure as he confides to me what he was dreaming, The dead leaf whirling its spiral whirl and falling still and content to the ground, The no-form'd stings that sights, people, objects, sting me with, The hubb'd sting of myself, stinging me as much as it ever can any one, The sensitive, orbic, underlapp'd brothers, that only privileged feelers may be intimate where they are, The curious roamer the hand roaming all over the body, the bashful withdrawing of flesh where the fingers soothingly pause and edge themselves, The limpid liquid within the young man, The vex'd corrosion so pensive and so painful, The torment, the irritable tide that will not be at rest, The like of the same I feel, the like of the same in others, The young man that flushes and flushes, and the young woman that flushes and flushes, The young man that wakes deep at night, the hot hand seeking to repress what would master him, The mystic amorous night, the strange half-welcome pangs, visions, sweats, The pulse pounding through palms and trembling encircling fingers, the young man all color'd, red, ashamed, angry;
|Page Image||CHILDREN OF ADAM.||91|
The souse upon me of my lover the sea, as I lie willing and naked, The merriment of the twin babes that crawl over the grass in the sun, the mother never turning her vigilant eyes from them, The walnut-trunk, the walnut-husks, and the ripening or ripen'd long-round walnuts, The continence of vegetables, birds, animals, The consequent meanness of me should I skulk or find myself indecent, while birds and animals never once skulk or find themselves indecent, The great chastity of paternity, to match the great chastity of maternity, The oath of procreation I have sworn, my Adamic and fresh daughters, The greed that eats me day and night with hungry gnaw, till I saturate what shall produce boys to fill my place when I am through, The wholesome relief, repose, content, And this bunch pluck'd at random from myself, It has done its work- I toss it carelessly to fall where it may.
|92||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
To have the gag remov'd from one's mouth! To have the feeling to-day or any day I am sufficient as I am. O something unprov'd! something in a trance! To escape utterly from others' anchors and holds! To drive free! to love free! to dash reckless and dangerous! To court destruction with taunts, with invitations! To ascend, to leap to the heavens of the love indicated to me! To rise thither with my inebriate soul! To be lost if it must be so! To feed the remainder of life with one hour of fulness and freedom! With one brief hour of madness and joy.
|Page Image||CHILDREN OF ADAM.||93|
|94||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
|96||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
No longer abash'd, (for in this secluded spot I can respond as I would not dare elsewhere,) Strong upon me the life that does not exhibit itself, yet contains all the rest, Resolv'd to sing no songs to-day but those of manly attachment, Projecting them along that substantial life, Bequeathing hence types of athletic love, Afternoon this delicious Ninth-month in my forty-first year, I proceed for all who are or have been young men, To tell the secret my nights and days, To celebrate the need of comrades.
Do not remain down there so ashamed, herbage of my breast! Come I am determin'd to unbare this broad breast of mine, I have long enough stifled and choked; Emblematic and capricious blades I leave you, now you serve me not, I will say what I have to say by itself, I will sound myself and comrades only, I will never again utter a call only their call, I will raise with it immortal reverberations through the States, I will give an example to lovers to take permanent shape and will through the States, Through me shall the words be said to make death exhilarating, Give me your tone therefore O death, that I may accord with it, Give me yourself, for I see that you belong to me now above all, and are folded inseparably together, you love and death are, Nor will I allow you to balk me any more with what I was calling life, For now it is convey'd to me that you are the purports essential, That you hide in these shifting forms of life, for reasons, and that they are mainly for you, That you beyond them come forth to remain, the real reality, That behind the mask of materials you patiently wait, no matter how long, That you will one day perhaps take control of all, That you will perhaps dissipate this entire show of appearance, That may-be you are what it is all for, but it does not last so very long, But you will last very long.
|98||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
Therefore release me now before troubling yourself any further, let go your hand from my shoulders, Put me down and depart on your way. Or else by stealth in some wood for trial, Or back of a rock in the open air, (For in any roof'd room of a house I emerge not, nor in company, And in libraries I lie as one dumb, a gawk, or unborn, or dead,) But just possibly with you on a high hill, first watching lest any person for miles around approach unawares, Or possibly with you sailing at sea, or on the beach of the sea or some quiet island, Here to put your lips upon mine I permit you, With the comrade's long-dwelling kiss or the new husband's kiss, For I am the new husband and I am the comrade. Or if you will, thrusting me beneath your clothing, Where I may feel the throbs of your heart or rest upon your hip, Carry me when you go forth over land or sea; For thus merely touching you is enough, is best, And thus touching you would I silently sleep and be carried eternally. But these leaves conning you con at peril, For these leaves and me you will not understand, They will elude you at first and still more afterward, I will certainly elude you. Even while you should think you had unquestionably caught me, behold! Already you see I have escaped from you. For it is not for what I have put into it that I have written this book, Nor is it by reading it you will acquire it, Nor do those know me best who admire me and vauntingly praise me, Nor will the candidates for my love (unless at most a very few) prove victorious, Nor will my poems do good only, they will do just as much evil, perhaps more, For all is useless without that which you may guess at many times and not hit, that which I hinted at; Therefore release me and depart on your way.
COME, I Will make the continent indissoluble, I will make the most splendid race the sun ever shone upon, I will make divine magnetic lands, With the love of comrades, With the life-long love of comrades. I will plant companionship thick as trees along all the rivers of America, and along the shores of the great lakes, and all over the prairies, I will make inseparable cities with their arms about each other's necks, By the love of comrades, By the manly love of comrades. For you these from me, O Democracy, to serve you ma femme! For you, for you I am trilling these songs.
|100||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
Here, out of my pocket, some moss which I pull'd off a live-oak in Florida as it hung trailing down, Here, some pinks and laurel leaves, and a handful of sage, And here what I now draw from the water, wading in the pondside, (O here I last saw him that tenderly loves me, and returns again never to separate from me, And this, O this shall henceforth be the token of comrades, this calamus-root shall, Interchange it youths with each other! let none render it back!) And twigs of maple and a bunch of wild orange and chestnut, And stems of currants and plum-blows, and the aromatic cedar, These I compass'd around by a thick cloud of spirits, Wandering, point to or touch as I pass, or throw them loosely from me, Indicating to each one what he shall have, giving something to each; But what I drew from the water by the pond-side, that I reserve, I will give of it, but only to them that love as I myself am capable of loving.
|102||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
Stated the lore of Plato, and Socrates greater than Plato, And greater than Socrates sought and stated, Christ divine having studied long, I see reminiscent to-day those Greek and Germanic systems, See the philosophies all, Christian churches and tenets see, Yet underneath Socrates clearly see, and underneath Christ the divine I see, The dear love of man for his comrade, the attraction of friend to friend, Of the well-married husband and wife, of children and parents, Of city for city and land for land.
But the day when I rose at dawn from the bed of perfect health, refresh'd, singing, inhaling the ripe breath of autumn, When I saw the full moon in the west grow pale and disappear in the morning light, When I wander'd alone over the beach, and undressing bathed, laughing with the cool waters, and saw the sun rise, And when I thought how my dear friend my lover was on his way coming, O then I was happy, O then each breath tasted sweeter, and all that day my food nourish'd me more, and the beautiful day pass'd well, And the next came with equal joy, and with the next at evening came my friend, And that night while all was still I heard the waters roll slowly continually up the shores, I heard the hissing rustle of the liquid and sands as directed to me whispering to congratulate me, For the one I love most lay sleeping by me under the same cover in the cool night, In the stillness in the autumn moonbeams his face was inclined toward me, And his arm lay lightly around my breast- and that night I was happy.
|104||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
Breast-sorrel and pinks of love, fingers that wind around tighter than vines, Gushes from the throats of birds hid in the foliage of trees as the sun is risen, Breezes of land and love set from living shores to you on the living sea, to you O sailors! Frost-mellow'd berries and Third-month twigs offer'd fresh to young persons wandering out in the fields when the winter breaks up, Love-buds put before you and within you whoever you are, Buds to be unfolded on the old terms, If you bring the warmth of the sun to them they will open and bring form, color, perfume, to you, If you become the aliment and the wet they will become flowers, fruits, tall branches and trees.
Let them know your scarlet heat, let them glisten, Saturate them with yourself all ashamed and wet, Glow upon all I have written or shall write, bleeding drops, Let it all be seen in your light, blushing drops.
|106||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
And I broke off a twig with a certain number of leaves upon it and twined around it a little moss, And brought it away, and I have placed it in sight in my room, It is not needed to remind me as of my own dear friends, (For I believe lately I think of little else than of them,) Yet it remains to me a curious token, it makes me think of manly love; For all that, and though the live-oak glistens there in Louisiana solitary in a wide in a wide flat space, Uttering joyous leaves all its life without a friend a lover near, I know very well I could not.
|108||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
|110||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
FAST-ANCHOR'D eternal O love! O woman I love! O bride! O wife! more resistless than I can tell, the thought of you! Then separate, as disembodied or another born, Ethereal, the last athletic reality, my consolation, I ascend, I float in the regions of your love O man, O sharer of my roving life.
|112||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
To one a century hence or any number of centuries hence, To you yet unborn these, seeking you. When you read these I that was visible am become invisible, Now it is you, compact, visible, realizing my poems, seeking me, Fancying how happy you were if I could be with you and become your comrade; Be it as if I were with you. (Be not too certain but I am now with you.)
|Page Image||SALUT AU MONDE.||113|
|114||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
I see the shaded part on one side where the sleepers are sleeping, and the sunlit part on the other side, I see the curious rapid change of the light and shade, I see distant lands, as real and near to the inhabitants of them as my land is to me. I see plenteous waters, I see mountain peaks, I see the sierras of Andes where they range, I see plainly the Himalayas, Chian Shahs, Altays, Ghauts, I see the giant pinnacles of Elbruz, Kazbek, Bazardjusi, I see the Styrian Alps, and the Karnac Alps, I see the Pyrenees, Balks, Carpathians, and to the north the Dofrafields, and off at sea mount Hecla, I see Vesuvius and Etna, the mountains of the Moon, and the Red mountains of Madagascar, I see the Lybian, Arabian, and Asiatic deserts, I see huge dreadful Arctic and Antarctic icebergs, I see the superior oceans and the inferior ones, the Atlantic and Pacific, the sea of Mexico, the Brazilian sea, and the sea of Peru, The waters of Hindustan, the China sea, and the gulf of Guinea, The Japan waters, the beautiful bay of Nagusaki land-lock'd in its mountains, The spread of the Baltic, Caspian, Bothnia, the British shores, and the bay of Biscay, The clear-sunn'd Mediterranean, and from one to another of its islands, The White sea, and the sea around Greenland. I behold the mariners of the world, Some are in storms, some in the night with the watch on the lookout, Some drifting helplessly, some with contagious diseases. I behold the sail and steamships of the world, some in clusters in port, some on their voyages, Some double the cape of Storms, some cape Verde, others capes Guardafui, Bon, or Bajadore, Others Dondra head, others pass the straits of Sunda, others cape Lopatka, others Behring's straits, Others cape Horn, others sail the gulf of Mexico or along Cuba or Hayti, others Hudson's bay or Baffin's bay, Others pass the straits of Dover, others enter the Wash, others the firth of Solway, others round cape Clear, others the Land's End,
|Page Image||SALUT AU MONDE.||115|
Others traverse the Zuyder Zee or the Scheld, Others as comers and goers at Gibraltar or the Dardanelles, Others sternly push their way through the northern winter-packs, Others descend or ascend the Obi or the Lena, Others the Niger or the Congo, others the Indus, the Burampooter and Cambodia, Others wait steam'd up ready to start in the ports of Australia, Wait at Liverpool, Glasgow, Dublin, Marseilles, Lisbon, Naples, Hamburg, Bremen, Bordeaux, the Hague, Copenhagen, Wait at Valparaiso, Rio Janeiro, Panama.
|116||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
I see Christ eating the bread of his last supper in the midst of youths and old persons, I see where the strong divine young man the Hercules toil'd faithfully and long and then died, I see the place of the innocent rich life and hapless fate of the beautiful nocturnal son, the full-limb'd Bacchus, I see Kneph, blooming, drest in blue, with the crown of feathers on his head, I see Hermes, unsuspected, dying, well-belov'd, saying to the people Do not weep for me, This is not my true country, I have lived banish'd from my true country, I now go back there, I return to the celestial sphere where every one goes in his turn.
|Page Image||SALUT AU MONDE.||117|
I see the Brazilian vaquero, I see the Bolivian ascending mount Sorata, I see the Wacho crossing the plains, I see the incomparable rider of horses with his lasso on his arm, I see over the pampas the pursuit of wild cattle for their hides.
|118||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
I see Egypt and the Egyptians, I see the pyramids and obelisks. I look on chisell'd histories, records of conquering kings, dynasties, cut in slabs of sand-stone, or on granite-blocks, I see at Memphis mummy-pits containing mummies embalm'd, swathed in linen cloth, lying there many centuries, I look on the fall'n Theban, the large-ball'd eyes, the side-drooping neck, the hands folded across the breast. I see all the menials of the earth, laboring, I see all the prisoners in the prisons, I see the defective human bodies of the earth, The blind, the deaf and dumb, idiots, hunchbacks, lunatics, The pirates, thieves, betrayers, murderers, slave-makers of the earth, The helpless infants, and the helpless old men and women. I see male and female everywhere, I see the serene brotherhood of philosophs, I see the constructiveness of my race, I see the results of the perseverance and industry of my race, I see ranks, colors, barbarisms, civilizations, I go among them, I mix indiscriminately, And I salute all the inhabitants of the earth.
|Page Image||SALUT AU MONDE.||119|
You Bokh horse-herd watching your mares and stallions feeding! You beautiful-bodied Persian at full speed in the saddle shooting arrows to the mark! You Chinaman and Chinawoman of China! you Tartar of Tartary! You women of the earth subordinated at your tasks! You Jew journeying in your old age through every risk to stand once on Syrian ground! You other Jews waiting in all lands for your Messiah! You thoughtful Armenian pondering by some stream of the Euphrates! you peering amid the ruins of Nineveh! you ascending mount Ararat! You foot-worn pilgrim welcoming the far-away sparkle of the minarets of Mecca! You sheiks along the stretch from Suez to Bab-el-mandeb ruling your families and tribes! You olive-grower tending your fruit on fields of Nazareth, Damascus, or lake Tiberias! You Thibet trader on the wide inland or bargaining in the shops of Lassa! You Japanese man or woman! you liver in Madagascar, Ceylon, Sumatra, Borneo! All you continentals of Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia, indifferent of place! All you on the numberless islands of the archipelagoes of the sea! And you of centuries hence when you listen to me! And you each and everywhere whom I specify not, but include just the same! Health to you! good will to you all, from me and America sent! Each of us inevitable, Each of us limitless-each of us with his or her right upon the earth, Each of us allow'd the eternal purports of the earth, Each of us here as divinely as any is here.
|120||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
You Caffre, Berber, Soudanese ! You haggard, uncouth, untutor'd Bedowee! You plague-swarms in Madras, Nankin, Kaubul, Cairo! You benighted roamer of Amazonia! you Patagonian! you Feejeeman! I do not prefer others so very much before you either, I do not say one word against you, away back there where you stand, (You will come forward in due time to my side.)
|Page Image||SONG OF THE OPEN ROAD.||121|
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune, Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing, Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms, Strong and content I travel the open road. The earth, that is sufficient, I do not want the constellations any nearer, I know they are very well where they are, I know they suffice for those who belong to them. (Still here I carry my old delicious burdens, I carry them, men and women, I carry them with me wherever I go, I swear it is impossible for me to get rid of them, I am fill'd with them, and I will fill them in return.)
|122||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
You rows of houses! you window-pierc'd facades! you roofs! You porches and entrances! you copings and iron guards! You windows whose transparent shells might expose so much! You doors and ascending steps! you arches! You gray stones of interminable pavements! you trodden crossings! From all that has touch'd you I believe you have imparted to yourselves, and now would impart the same secretly to me, From the living and the dead you have peopled your impassive surfaces, and the spirits thereof would be evident and amicable with me.
|Page Image||SONG OF THE OPEN ROAD.||123|
The east and the west are mine, and the north and the south are mine. I am larger, better than I thought, I did not know I held so much goodness. All seems beautiful to me, can repeat over to men and women You have done such good to me I would do the same to you, I will recruit for myself and you as I go, I will scatter myself among men and women as I go, I will toss a new gladness and roughness among them, Whoever denies me it shall not trouble me, Whoever accepts me he or she shall be blessed and shall bless me.
|124||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
Here is a man tallied-he realizes here what he has in him, The past, the future, majesty, love-if they are vacant of you, you are vacant of them. Only the kernel of every object nourishes; Where is he who tears off the husks for you and me? Where is he that undoes stratagems and envelopes for you and me? Here is adhesiveness, it is not previously fashion'd, it is apropos; Do you know what it is as you pass to be loved by strangers? Do you know the talk of those turning eye-balls?
|Page Image||SONG OF THE OPEN ROAD.||125|
Toward the fluid and attaching character exudes the sweat of the love of young and old, From it falls distill'd the charm that mocks beauty and attainments, Toward it heaves the shuddering longing ache of contact.
|126||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
(I and mine do not convince by arguments, similes, rhymes, We convince by our presence.)
|Page Image||SONG OF THE OPEN ROAD.||127|
|128||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
Whoever you are, come forth! or man or woman come forth! You must not stay sleeping and dallying there in the house, though you built it, or though it has been built for you. Out of the dark confinement! out from behind the screen! It is useless to protest, I know all and expose it. Behold through you as bad as the rest, Through the laughter, dancing, dining, supping, of people, Inside of dresses and ornaments, inside of those wash'd and trimm'd faces, Behold a secret silent loathing and despair. No husband, no wife, no friend, trusted to hear the confession, Another self, a duplicate of every one, skulking and hiding it goes, Formless and wordless through the streets of the cities, polite and bland in the parlors, In the cars of railroads, in steamboats, in the public assembly, Home to the houses of men and women, at the table, in the bedroom, everywhere, Smartly attired, countenance smiling, form upright, death under the breast-bones, hell under the skull-bones, Under the broadcloth and gloves, under the ribbons and artificial flowers, Keeping fair with the customs, speaking not a syllable of itself, Speaking of any thing else but never of itself.
|Page Image||CROSSING BROOKLYN FERRY.||129|
Let the paper remain on the desk unwritten, and the book on the shelf unopen'd! Let the tools remain in the workshop! let the money remain unearn'd! Let the school stand! mind not the cry of the teacher! Let the preacher preach in his pulpit! let the lawyer plead in the court, and the judge expound the law. Camerado, I give you my hand! I give you my love more precious than money, I give you myself before preaching or law; Will you give me yourselp. will you come travel with me? Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?
|130||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
Others will watch the run of the flood-tide, Others will see the shipping of Manhattan north and west, and the heights of Brooklyn to the south and east, Others will see the islands large and small; Fifty years hence, others will see them as they cross, the sun half an hour high, A hundred years hence, or ever so many hundred years hence, others will see them, Will enjoy the sunset, the pouring-in of the flood-tide, the falling-back to the sea of the ebb-tide.
|Page Image||CROSSING BROOKLYN FERRY.||131|
The white wake left by the passage, the quick tremulous whirl of the wheels, The flags of all nations, the falling of them at sunset, The scallop-edged waves in the twilight, the ladled cups, the frolic-some crests and glistening, The stretch afar growing dimmer and dimmer, the gray walls of the granite storehouses by the docks, On the river the shadowy group, the big steam-tug closely flank'd on each side by the barges, the hay-boat, the belated lighter, On the neighboring shore the fires from the foundry chimneys burning high and glaringly into the night, Casting their flicker of black contrasted with wild red and yellow light over the tops of houses, and down into the clefts of streets.
|132||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
The best I had done seem'd to me blank and suspicious, My great thoughts as I supposed them, were they not in reality meagre? Nor is it you alone who know what it is to be evil, I am he who knew what it was to be evil, I too knitted the old knot of contrariety, Blabb'd, blush'd, resented, lied, stole, grudg'd, Had guile, anger, lust, hot wishes I dared not speak, Was wayward, vain, greedy, shallow, sly, cowardly, malignant, The wolf, the snake, the hog, not wanting in me. The cheating look, the frivolous word, the adulterous wish, not wanting, Refusals, hates, postponements, meanness, laziness, none of these wanting, Was one with the rest, the days and haps of the rest, Was call'd by my nighest name by clear loud voices of young men as they saw me approaching or passing, Felt their arms on my neck as I stood, or the negligent leaning of their flesh against me as I sat, Saw many I loved in the street or ferry-boat or public assembly, yet never told them a word, Lived the same life with the rest, the same old laughing, gnawing, sleeping, Play'd the part that still looks back on the actor or actress, The same old role, the role that is what we make it, as great as we like, Or as small as we like, or both great and small.
|Page Image||CROSSING BROOKLYN FERRY.||133|
What gods can exceed these that clasp me by the hand, and with voices I love call me promptly and loudly by my nighest name as approach? What is more subtle than this which ties me to the woman or man that looks in my face? Which fuses me into you now, and pours my meaning into you? We understand then do we not? What I promis'd without mentioning it, have you not accepted? What the study could not teach-what the preaching could not accomplish is accomplish'd, is it not?
|134||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
Appearances, now or henceforth, indicate what you are, You necessary film, continue to envelop the soul, About my body for me, and your body for you, be hung our divinest aromas, Thrive, cities-bring your freight, bring your shows, ample and sufficient rivers, Expand, being than which none else is perhaps more spiritual, Keep your places, objects than which none else is more lasting. You have waited, you always wait, you dumb, beautiful ministers, We receive you with free sense at last, and are insatiate henceforward, Not you any more shall be able to foil us, or withhold yourselves from us, We use you, and do not cast you aside-we plant you permanently within us, We fathom you not- we love you- there is perfection in you also, You furnish your parts toward eternity, Great or small, you furnish your parts toward the soul.
|Page Image||SONG OF THE ANSWERER.||135|
Beautiful women, the haughtiest nations, laws, the landscape, people, animals, The profound earth and its attributes and the unquiet ocean, (so tell I my morning's romanza,) All enjoyments and properties and money, and whatever money will buy, The best farms, others toiling and planting and he unavoidably reaps, The noblest and costliest cities, others grading and building and he domiciles there, Nothing for any one but what is for him, near and far are for him, the ships in the offing, The perpetual shows and marches on land are for him if they are for anybody. He puts things in their attitudes, He puts to-day out of himself with plasticity and love, He places his own times, reminiscences, parents, brothers and sisters, associations, employment, politics, so that the rest never shame them afterward, nor assume to command them. He is the Answerer, What can be answer'd he answers, and what cannot be answer'd he shows how it cannot be answer'd. A man is a summons and challenge, (It is vain to skulk- do you hear that mocking and laughter? do you hear the ironical echoes?) Books, friendships, philosophers, priests, action, pleasure, pride, beat up and down seeking to give satisfaction, He indicates the satisfaction, and indicates them that beat up and down also. Whichever the sex, whatever the season or place, he may go freshly and gently and safely by day or by night, He has the pass-key of hearts, to him the response of the prying of hands on the knobs. His welcome is universal, the flow of beauty is not more welcome or universal than he is, The person he favors by day or sleeps with at night is blessed. Every existence has its idiom, every thing has an idiom and tongue,
|136||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
He resolves all tongues into his own and bestows it upon men, and any man translates, and any man translates himself also, One part does not counteract another part, he is the joiner, he sees how they join. He says indifferently and alike How are you friend? to the President at his levee, And he says Good-day my brother, to Cudge that hoes in the sugar-field, And both understand him and know that his speech is right. He walks with perfect ease in the capitol, He walks among the Congress, and one Representative says to another, Here is our equal appearing and new. Then the mechanics take him for a mechanic, And the soldiers suppose him to be a soldier, and the sailors that he has follow'd the sea, And the authors take him for an author, and the artists for an artist, And the laborers perceive he could labor with them and love them, No matter what the work is, that he is the one to follow it or has follow'd it, No matter what the nation, that he might find his brothers and sisters there. The English believe he comes of their English stock, A Jew to the Jew he seems, a Russ to the Russ, usual and near, removed from none. Whoever he looks at in the traveler's coffee-house claims him, The Italian or Frenchman is sure, the German is sure, the Spaniard is sure, and the island Cuban is sure, The engineer, the deck-hand on the great lakes, or on the Mississippi or St. Lawrence or Sacramento, or Hudson or Paumanok sound, claims him. The gentleman of perfect blood acknowledges his perfect blood, The insulter, the prostitute, the angry person, the beggar, see themselves in the ways of him, he strangely transmutes them, They are not vile any more, they hardly know themselves they are so grown.
|Page Image||SONG OF THE ANSWERER.||137|
Time, always without break, indicates itself in parts, What always indicates the poet is the crowd of the pleasant company of singers, and their words, The words of the singers are the hours or minutes of the light or dark, but the words of the maker of poems are the general light and dark, The maker of poems settles justice, reality, immortality, His insight and power encircle things and the human race, He is the glory and extract thus far of things and of the human race. The singers do not beget, only the Poet begets, The singers are welcom'd, understood, appear often enough, but rare has the day been, likewise the spot, of the birth of the maker of poems, the Answerer, (Not every century nor every five centuries has contain'd such a day, for all its names.) The singers of successive hours of centuries may have ostensible names, but the name of each of them is one of the singers, The name of each is, eye-singer, ear-singer, head-singer, sweet-singer, night-singer, parlor-singer, love-singer, weird-singer, or something else. All this time and at all times wait the words of true poems, The words of true poems do not merely please, The true poets are not followers of beauty but the august masters of beauty; The greatness of sons is the exuding of the greatness of mothers and fathers, The words of true poems are the tuft and final applause of science. Divine instinct, breadth of vision, the law of reason, health, rudeness of body, withdrawnness, Gayety, sun-tan, air-sweetness, such are some of the words of poems. The sailor and traveler underlie the maker of poems, the Answerer, The builder, geometer, chemist, anatomist, phrenologist, artist, all these underlie the maker of poems, the Answerer. The words of the true poems give you more than poems, They give you to form for yourself poems, religions, politics, war, peace, behavior, histories, essays, daily life, and every thing else, They balance ranks, colors, races, creeds, and the sexes,
|138||LEAVES OF GRASS.||Page Image|
They do not seek beauty, they are sought, Forever touching them or close upon them follows beauty, longing, fain, love-sick. They prepare for death, yet are they not the finish, but rather the outset, They bring none to his or her terminus or to be content and full, Whom they take they take into space to behold the birth of stars, to learn one of the meanings, To launch off with absolute faith, to sweep through the ceaseless rings and never be quiet again.
|Page Image||OUR OLD FEUILLAGE.|