Leaves of Grass (1881-82)

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I WAS looking a long while for Intentions,
For a clew to the history of the past for myself, and for these
         chants—and now I have found it,
It is not in those paged fables in the libraries, (them I neither
         accept nor reject,)
It is no more in the legends than in all else,
It is in the present—it is this earth to-day,
It is in Democracy—(the purport and aim of all the past,)
It is the life of one man or one woman to-day—the average man
         of to-day,
It is in languages, social customs, literatures, arts,
It is in the broad show of artificial things, ships, machinery, poli-
         tics, creeds, modern improvements, and the interchange of
All for the modern—all for the average man of to-day.
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