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Review of Good-bye My Fancy

[ . . .] Others there are deserving of mention, but we must now turn to the volume of the year, which should be specially precious to the American people,—that of the poet who has most firmly grasped the "American Idea" in its deepest and broadest bearings on humanity. We mean Walt Whitman's "Good-bye my Fancy." Here is only a handful of poems, but among them there are jewels which may "flash their laugh at time." Other poets may smooth and polish, but there is no other poet in America at present, nor ever has been, who can stir every fibre of one's soul as Whitman can in a few short lines. We fly from peak to peak, unnoting of valleys which may lie in between. The same master's touch, which seems to us specially fine in the little volume called "Drum Taps," is evident in these last few songs of his old age. We have space to quote only one,—the last, which, when men have lost their rhythmical prejudices, will hold its own with "Crossing the Bar," or the epilogue to "Asolando":

Good-bye my Fancy! Farewell dear mate, dear love! I'm going away, I know not where, Or to what fortune, or whether I may ever see you again, So good-bye my Fancy. Now for my last—let me look back a moment; The slower fainter ticking of the clock is in me, Exit, nightfall, and soon the heart-thud stopping. Long have we lived, joy'd, caress'd together; Delightful!—now separation—Good-bye my Fancy. Yet let me not be too hasty, Long indeed have we lived, slept, filter'd, become really blended into one; Then if we die we die together (yes, we'll remain one), If we go anywhere, we'll go together to meet what happens, May-be we'll be better off and blither, and learn something, May-be it is yourself now really ushering me to the true songs, (who knows?) May-be it is you the mortal knot really undoing, turning—so, now, finally, Good-bye—and hail! my Fancy. C.
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