Contemporary Reviews

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman's Works

Creator: unknown [unsigned in original]

Date: November 9, 1881

Whitman Archive ID: anc.00207

Source: The New York Commercial Advertiser 9 November 1881: [unknown]. The electronic text for this file was prepared by Whitman Archive staff, who transcribed the text from a representation of the original (e.g., digital scan or other electronic reproduction, microfilm copy). For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the reviews, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Natalie O'Neal, Elizabeth Lorang, and Vanessa Steinroetter


James R. Osgood & Co. have published a new and enlarged edition of Walt Whitman's poems. It contains all the old ones and many new, including 383 in all, and is embellished with two portraits of the author. The following are selections from the volume:

Tears! tears! tears!
In the night, in solitude, tears,
On the white shore dripping, dripping, suck'd in by the
Tears, not a star shining, all dark and desolate,
Moist tears from the eyes of a muffled head;
O who is that ghost? that form in the dark, with tears?
What shapeless hump is that, bent, crouch'd there on the
Screaming tears, sobbing tears, throes choked with wild
O storm, embodied, rising, careering with swift steps
along the beach!
O wild and dismal night storm, with wind—O belching
and desperate!
O shade so sedate and decorous by day, with calm counte-
nance and regulated pace.
But away at night as you fly, none looking—O then the
unloosen'd ocean
Of tears! tears! tears!
"The Seventeenth—the finest Regimental Band I ever heard."
Through the soft evening air enwinding all,
Rocks, woods, fort, cannon, pacing sentries endless wilds,
In dulcet streams, in flutes' and cornets' notes,
Electric, pensive, turbulent, artificial,
(Yet strangely fitting even here, meaning unknown be-
Subtler than ever, more harmony, as if born here, related
Not to the city's fresco'd rooms, not to the audience of the
opera house,
Sounds, echoes, wandering strains, as really bare at home,
Sonnambula's innocent love, trios with Norma's anguish,
And thy ecstatic chorus Poliuto;)
Ray'd in the limpid yellow slanting sundown,
Music, Italian music in Dakota.
While Nature, sovereign of this gnarl'd realm,
Lurking in hidden barbaric grim recesses,
Acknowledging rapport however far remov'd,
(As some old root of soil its best-born flower or
Listens well pleas'd.
With all thy gifts America,
Standing secure, rapidly tending, overlooking the world,
Power, wealth, extent, vouchsafed to thee—with these and
like of these vouchsafed to thee
What if one gift thou lackest (the ultimate human
problem never solving,)
The gift of perfect women fit for thee—what if that gift
of gifts thou lackest?
The towering feminine of thee? the beauty, health, com-
pletion fit for thee?
The mother's fit for thee?
To U.S.G. return'd from his World's Tour.
What best I see in thee,
Is not that where thou mov'st down history's great highways,
Ever undimm'd by time shoots warlike victory's dazzle,
Or that thou sat'st where Washington sat, ruling the land in peace,
Or thou the man whom feudal Europe feted, venerable Asia
swarm'd upon,
Who walk'd with kings with even pace the round world's prome-
But that in foreign lands, in all thy walks with kings,
Those prairie sovereigns of the West, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois,
Ohio's, Indiana's millions, comrades, farmers, soldiers, all to the
Invisibly with thee walking with kings with even pace the round
world's promenade,
Were all so justified.


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