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Leaves of Grass (1871)

  uva_bb.00001.jpg   uva_bb.00002.jpg   uva_bb.00003.jpg   ppp.00270.003.jpg LEAVES  
Washington D. C. 1871.  
  See ADVERTISEMENT at end of this Volume.   [ begin page 2 ]ppp.00270.004.jpg Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870, by WALT WHITMAN, In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.  
  Electrotyped by SMITH & MCDOUGAL, 82 Beekman Street, New York.


One's-Self I Sing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
As I Ponder'd in Silence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
In Cabin'd Ships at Sea . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
To Foreign Lands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
To a Historian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
For Him I Sing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
When I read the Book . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Beginning my Studies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
To Thee Old Cause! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Starting from Paumanok . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
The Ship Starting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Unfolded out of the Folds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
To You . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Walt Whitman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Laws for Creations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
Visor'd . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
To the Garden the World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97
From Pent-up Aching Rivers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97
I Sing the Body Electric . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100
A Woman Waits for Me . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
Spontaneous Me . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111
One Hour to Madness and Joy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113
We Two—How long We were Fool'd . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
Out of the Rolling Ocean, the Crowd . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
Native Moments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116
Once I pass'd through a Populous City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
Facing West from California's Shores . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
Ages and Ages, Returning at Intervals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118
O Hymen! O Hymenee! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118
As Adam, Early in the Morning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118
I Heard You, Solemn-sweet Pipes of the Organ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119
I am He that Aches with Love . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119
To Him that was Crucified . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120
Perfections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120
In Paths Untrodden . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
Scented Herbage of My Breast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122
Whoever You are, Holding me now in Hand . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124
These, I Singing in Spring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
A Song . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127
Not Heaving from My Ribb'd Breast Only . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128
Of the Terrible Doubt of Appearances . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128
The Base of all Metaphysics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
Recorders Ages Hence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130
  [ begin page iv ]ppp.00270.006.jpg

When I heard at the Close of the Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
Are you the New person, drawn toward Me? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
Roots and Leaves Themselves Alone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
Not Heat Flames up and Consumes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133
Trickle, Drops . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134
City of Orgies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134
Behold this Swarthy Face . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
I saw in Louisiana a Live Oak Growing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
To a Stranger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136
This Moment, Yearning and Thoughtful . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136
I hear it was Charged against Me . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137
The Prairie-Grass Dividing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137
We Two Boys Together Clinging . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138
A Promise to California . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138
Here the Frailest Leaves of Me . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138
When I peruse the Conquer'd Fame . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139
What think You I take my Pen in Hand . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139
A Glimpse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140
No Labor-Saving Machine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140
A Leaf for Hand in Hand . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140
To the East and to the West . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141
Earth! my Likeness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141
I Dream'd in a Dream . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141
Fast Anchor'd, Eternal, O Love . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142
Sometimes with One I Love . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142
That Shadow my Likeness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142
Among the Multitude . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143
To a Western Boy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143
O You Whom I Often and Silently come . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143
Full of Life, Now . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144
Salut au Monde . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
A Child's Amaze . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158
The Runner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158
Beautiful Women . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158
Mother and Babe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158
Thought . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158
American Feuillage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159
Song of the Broad-Axe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165
Song of the Open Road . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177
I sit and Look Out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 189
Me Imperturbe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 189
As I lay with my Head in your Lap, Camerado . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190
Crossing Brooklyn Ferry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191
With Antecedents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 199
Now list to my Morning's Romanza . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201
The Indications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204
Poets to Come . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 206
I Hear America Singing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 207
The City Dead House . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 208
A Farm-Picture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 208
Carol of Occupations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 209
Thoughts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 218
The Sleepers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 219
Carol of Words . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231
Ah Poverties, Wincings and Sulky Retreats . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 238
A Boston Ballad, 1854 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239
Year of Meteors, 1859-'60 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 241
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A Broadway Pageant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243
Suggestions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 248
Great are the Myths . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 249
Thought . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 252
There was a Child went Forth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 253
Longings for Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 255
Think of the Soul . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 257
You Felons on Trial in Courts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 258
To a Common Prostitute . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 259
I was Looking a Long While . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 259
To a President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 260
To The States . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 260
Drum-Taps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261
1861 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264
Beat! Beat! Drums! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 265
From Paumanok Starting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 266
Rise, O Days . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 267
City of Ships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269
The Centenarian's Story . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 270
An Army Corps on the March . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 276
Cavalry Crossing a Ford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 276
Bivouac on a Mountain Side . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 277
By the Bivouac's Fitful Flame . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 277
Come up from the Fields, Father . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
Vigil Strange I Kept on the Field . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 280
A March in the Ranks, Hard-prest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281
Sight in Camp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 282
Not the Pilot, &c. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 283
As Toilsome I Wander'd . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 284
Year that Trembled . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 284
The Dresser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 285
Long, too Long, O Land! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 288
Give me the Splendid, Silent Sun . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 288
Dirge for Two Veterans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 290
Over the Carnage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 292
The Artilleryman's Vision . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 293
I saw Old General at Bay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 294
O Tan-faced Prairie Boy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 295
Look Down, Fair Moon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 295
Reconciliation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 295
Spirit whose Work is Done . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 296
How Solemn as One by One . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 297
Not Youth Pertains to Me . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 297
To the Leaven'd Soil They Trod . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 298
Faces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 299
Manhattan Streets I Saunter'd, Pondering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 303
All is Truth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 307
Voices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 308
As I sat Alone by Blue Ontario's shores . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 309
Pioneers! O Pioneers! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 327
Respondez! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 333
Turn, O Libertad . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 337
Adieu to a Soldier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 337
As I walk These Broad, Majestic Days . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 338
Weave in, Weave in, My Hardy Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 339
Race of Veterans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 340
O Sun of Real Peace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 340
  [ begin page vi ]ppp.00270.008.jpg

This Compost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 341
Unnamed Lands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 343
Mannahatta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 345
Old Ireland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 346
To Oratists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 347
Solid, Ironical, Rolling Orb . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 348
Bathed in War's Perfume . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 349
Delicate Cluster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 349
Song of the Banner at Day-Break . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 350
Ethiopia Saluting the Colors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 357
Lo! Victress on the Peaks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 358
World, Take Good Notice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 358
Thick-Sprinkled Bunting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 359
A Hand-Mirror . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 360
Germs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 360
O Me! O Life! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 361
Thoughts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 361
Beginners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 362
Still, though the One I Sing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 363
To a foil'd European Revolutionaire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 363
France, the 18th year of These States . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 365
Europe, the 72d and 73d years of These States . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 367
Walt Whitman's Caution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 369
To a Certain Cantatrice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 369
To You . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 370
As the Time Draws Nigh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 373
Years of the Modern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 373
Thoughts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 375
Song at Sunset . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 377
When I heard the Learn'd Astronomer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 380
To Rich Givers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 380
Thought . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 380
So Long . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 381



1ONE'S-SELF I sing—a simple, separate Person; Yet utter the word Democratic, the word En-masse. 2Of 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  
The Female equally with the male I sing.
3Of Life immense in passion, pulse, and power, Cheerful—for freest action form'd, under the laws di- 
The Modern Man I sing.



AS I ponder'd in silence, Returning upon my poems, considering, lingering long, A Phantom arose before me, with distrustful aspect, Terrible in beauty, age, and power,   [ begin page 8 ]ppp.00270.010.jpgThe genius of poets of old lands, As to me directing like flame its eyes, With finger pointing to many immortal songs, And menacing voice, What singest thou? it said; Knowest thou not, there is but one theme for ever-enduring  
And that is the theme of War, the fortune of battles, The making of perfect soldiers?


Be it so, then I answer'd, I too, haughty Shade, also sing war—and a longer and  
  greater one than any,
Waged in my book with varying fortune—with fight, ad- 
 vance, and retreat—Victory deferr'd and wavering,
(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.



IN cabin'd ships, at sea, The boundless blue on every side expanding, With whistling winds and music of the waves—the  
 large imperious waves—In such,
Or some lone bark, buoy'd on the dense marine, Where, joyous, full of faith, spreading white sails, She cleaves the ether, mid the sparkle and the foam of  
 day, or under many a star at night,
By sailors young and old, haply will I, a reminiscence  
 of the land, be read,
In full rapport at last.
  [ begin page 9 ]ppp.00270.011.jpg


Here are our thoughts—voyagers' thoughts, Here not the land, firm land, alone appears, may then by  
 them be said;
The sky o'erarches here—we feel the undulating deck be- 
 neath our feet,
We feel the long pulsation—ebb and flow of endless mo- 
The tones of unseen mystery—the vague and vast sugges- 
 tions of the briny world—the liquid-flowing sylla- 
The perfume, the faint creaking of the cordage, the melan- 
 choly rhythm,
The boundless vista, and the horizon far and dim, are all  
And this is Ocean's poem.


Then falter not, O book! fulfil your destiny! You, not a reminiscence of the land alone, You too, as a lone bark, cleaving the ether—purpos'd I  
 know not whither—yet ever full of faith,
Consort to every ship that sails—sail you! Bear forth to them, folded, my love —(Dear mariners!  
 for you I fold it here, in every leaf;)
Speed on, my Book! spread your white sails, my little  
 bark, athwart the imperious waves!
Chant on—sail on—bear o'er the boundless blue, from  
 me, to every shore,
This song for mariners and all their ships.


I HEARD that you ask'd for something to prove this  
 puzzle, the New World,
And to define America, her athletic Democracy; Therefore I send you my poems, that you behold in  
 them what you wanted.
  [ begin page 10 ]ppp.00270.012.jpg


YOU who celebrate bygones! Who have explored the outward, the surfaces of the  
 races—the life that has exhibited itself;
Who have treated of man as the creature of politics,  
 aggregates, rulers and priests;
I, habitan of the Alleghanies, treating of him as he is  
 in himself, in his own rights,
Pressing the pulse of the life that has seldom exhibited  
 itself, (the great pride of man in himself;)
Chanter of Personality, outlining what is yet to be, I project the history of the future.


FOR him I sing, I raise the Present on the Past, (As some perennial tree, out of its roots, the present on  
 the past:)
With time and space I him dilate—and fuse the im- 
 mortal laws,
To make himself, by them, the law unto himself.


WHEN I read the book, the biography famous, And is this, then, (said I,) what the author calls a  
 man's life?
And so will some one, when I am dead and gone, write  
 my life?
  [ begin page 11 ]ppp.00270.013.jpg (As if any man really knew aught of my life; Why, even I myself, I often think, know little or noth- 
 ing of my real life;
Only a few hints—a few diffused, faint clues and indi- 
I seek, for my own use, to trace out here.)


BEGINNING my studies, the first step pleas'd me so  
The mere fact, consciousness—these forms—the power  
 of motion,
The least insect or animal—the senses—eyesight—  
The first step, I say, aw'd me and pleas'd me so much, I have hardly gone, and hardly wish'd to go, any far- 
But stop and loiter all the time, to sing it in extatic  


1To thee, old Cause! Thou peerless, passionate, good cause! Thou stern, remorseless, sweet Idea! Deathless throughout the ages, races, lands! After a strange, sad war—great war for thee, (I think all war through time was really fought, and  
 ever will be really fought, for thee;)
These chants for thee—the eternal march of thee.
2Thou orb of many orbs! Thou seething principle! Thou well-kept, latent germ! Thou centre!   [ begin page 12 ]ppp.00270.014.jpg Around the idea of thee the strange sad war revolv- 
With all its angry and vehement play of causes, (With yet unknown results to come, for thrice a thou- 
 sand years,)
These recitatives for thee—my Book and the War are  
Merged in its spirit I and mine—as the contest hinged  
 on thee,
As a wheel on its axis turns, this Book, unwitting to  
Around the Idea of thee.



1STARTING from fish-shape Paumanok, where I was  
Well-begotten, and rais'd by a perfect mother; After roaming many lands—lover of populous pave- 
Dweller in Mannahatta, my city—or on southern sa- 
Or a soldier camp'd, or carrying my knapsack and gun—  
 or a miner in California;
Or rude in my home in Dakota's woods, my diet meat,  
 my drink from the spring;
Or withdrawn to muse and meditate in some deep re- 
Far from the clank of crowds, intervals passing, rapt  
 and happy;
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  
And heard at dusk the unrival'd one, the hermit thrush  
 from the swamp-cedars,
Solitary, singing in the West, I strike up for a New  
  [ begin page 14 ]ppp.00270.016.jpg


2Victory, union, faith, identity, time, The indissoluble compacts, riches, mystery, Eternal progress, the kosmos, and the modern reports. 3This, then, is life; Here is what has come to the surface after so many  
 throes and convulsions.
4How curious! how real! Underfoot the divine soil—overhead the sun. 5See, revolving, the globe; The ancestor-continents, away, group'd together; The present and future continents, north and south,  
 with the isthmus between.
6See, vast, trackless spaces; As in a dream, they change, they swiftly fill; Countless masses debouch upon them; They are now cover'd with the foremost people, arts,  
 institutions, known.
7See, projected, through time, For me, an audience interminable. 8With firm and regular step they wend—they never stop, Successions of men, Americanos, a hundred millions; One generation playing its part, and passing on; Another generation playing its part, and passing on in  
 its turn,
With faces turn'd sideways or backward towards me, to  
With eyes retrospective towards me.


9Americanos! conquerors! marches humanitarian; Foremost! century marches! Libertad! masses! For you a programme of chants.   [ begin page 15 ]ppp.00270.017.jpg 10Chants of the prairies; Chants of the long-running Mississippi, and down to  
 the Mexican sea;
Chants of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and  
Chants going forth from the centre, from Kansas, and  
 thence, equi-distant,
Shooting in pulses of fire, ceaseless, to vivify all.


11In the Year 80 of The States, My tongue, every atom of my blood, form'd from this  
 soil, this air,
Born here of parents born here, from parents the same,  
 and their parents the same,
I, now thirty-six years old, in perfect health, begin, Hoping to cease not till death.
12Creeds and schools in abeyance, (Retiring back a while, sufficed at what they are, but  
 never forgotten,)
I harbor, for good or bad—I permit to speak, at every  
Nature now without check, with original energy.


13Take my leaves, America! take them, South, and take  
 them, North!
Make welcome for them everywhere, for they are your  
 own offspring;
Surround them, East and West! for they would sur- 
 round you;
And you precedents! connect lovingly with them, for  
 they connect lovingly with you.
14I conn'd old times: I sat studying at the feet of the great masters: Now, if eligible, O that the great masters might return  
 and study me!
  [ begin page 16 ]ppp.00270.018.jpg 15In the name of These States, shall I scorn the an- 
Why These are the children of the antique, to jus- 
 tify it.


16Dead poets, philosophs, priests, Martyrs, artists, inventors, governments long since, Language-shapers, on other shores, Nations once powerful, now reduced, withdrawn, or  
I dare not proceed till I respectfully credit what you  
 have left, wafted hither:
I have perused it—own it is admirable, (moving awhile  
 among it;)
Think nothing can ever be greater—nothing can ever  
 deserve more than it deserves;
Regarding it all intently a long while—then dismiss- 
 ing it,
I stand in my place, with my own day, here.
17Here lands female and male; Here the heir-ship and heiress-ship of the world—here  
 the flame of materials;
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.


18The SOUL: Forever and forever—longer than soil is brown and  
 solid—longer than water ebbs and flows.
19I will make the poems of materials, for I think they  
 are to be the most spiritual poems;
And I will make the poems of my body and of mor- 
For I think I shall then supply myself with the poems  
 of my Soul, and of immortality.
  [ begin page 17 ]ppp.00270.019.jpg 20I will make a song for These States, that no one State  
 may under any circumstances be subjected to  
 another State;
And I will make a song that there shall be comity by  
 day and by night between all The States, and  
 between any two of them;
And I will make a song for the ears of the President,  
 full of weapons with menacing points,
And behind the weapons countless dissatisfied faces: —And a song make I, of the One form'd out of all; The fang'd and glittering One whose head is over all; Resolute, warlike One, including and over all; (However high the head of any else, that head is over  
21I will acknowledge contemporary lands; I will trail the whole geography of the globe, and sa- 
 lute courteously every city large and small;
And employments! I will put in my poems, that with  
 you is heroism, upon land and sea;
And I will report all heroism from an American point  
 of view.
22I will sing the song of companionship; I will show what alone must finally compact These; I believe These are to found their own ideal of manly  
 love, indicating it in me;
I will therefore let flame from me the burning fires that  
 were threatening to consume me;
I will lift what has too long kept down those smoulder- 
 ing fires;
I will give them complete abandonment; I will write the evangel-poem of comrades, and of love; (For who but I should understand love, with all its sor- 
 row and joy?
And who but I should be the poet of comrades?)


23I am the credulous man of qualities, ages, races; I advance from the people in their own spirit; Here is what sings unrestricted faith.   [ begin page 18 ]ppp.00270.020.jpg 24Omnes! Omnes! let others ignore what they may; I make the poem of evil also—I commemorate that part  
I am myself just as much evil as good, and my nation  
 is—And I say there is in fact no evil;
(Or if there is, I say it is just as important to you, to  
 the land, or to me, as anything else.)
25I too, following many, and follow'd by many, inau- 
 gurate a Religion—I descend into the arena;
(It may be I am destin'd to utter the loudest cries there,  
 the winner's pealing shouts;
Who knows? they may rise from me yet, and soar above  
 every thing.)
26Each is not for its own sake; I say the whole earth, and all the stars in the sky, are  
 for Religion's sake.
27I say no man has ever yet been half devout enough; None has ever yet adored or worship'd half enough; None has begun to think how divine he himself is, and  
 how certain the future is.
28I say that the real and permanent grandeur of These  
 States must be their Religion;
Otherwise there is no real and permanent grandeur: (Nor character, nor life worthy the name, without Reli- 
Nor land, nor man or woman, without Religion.)


29What are you doing, young man? Are you so earnest—so given up to literature, science,  
 art, amours?
These ostensible realities, politics, points? Your ambition or business, whatever it may be?
30It is well—Against such I say not a word—I am  
 their poet also;
  [ begin page 19 ]ppp.00270.021.jpg But behold! such swiftly subside— burnt up for Reli- 
 gion's sake;
For not all matter is fuel to heat, impalpable flame, the  
 essential life of the earth,
Any more than such are to Religion.


31What do you seek, so pensive and silent? What do you need, Camerado? Dear son! do you think it is love? 32Listen, dear son—listen, America, daughter or son! It is a painful thing to love a man or woman to excess  
 —and yet it satisfies—it is great;
But there is something else very great—it makes the  
 whole coincide;
It, magnificent, beyond materials, with continuous  
 hands, sweeps and provides for all.


33Know you! solely to drop in the earth the germs of  
 a greater Religion,
The following chants, each for its kind, I sing.
34My comrade! For you, to share with me, two greatnesses—and a third  
 one, rising inclusive and more resplendent,
The greatness of Love and Democracy—and the great- 
 ness of Religion.
35Melange mine own! the unseen and the seen; Mysterious ocean where the streams empty; Prophetic spirit of materials shifting and flickering  
 around me;
Living beings, identities, now doubtless near us, in the  
 air, that we know not of;
Contact daily and hourly that will not release me; These selecting—these, in hints, demanded of me.
  [ begin page 20 ]ppp.00270.022.jpg 36Not he, with a daily kiss, onward from childhood  
 kissing me,
Has winded and twisted around me that which holds  
 me to him,
Any more than I am held to the heavens, to the spir- 
 itual world,
And to the identities of the Gods, my lovers, faithful  
 and true,
After what they have done to me, suggesting themes.
37O such themes! Equalities! O amazement of things! O divine average! O warblings under the sun—usher'd, as now, at noon,  
 or setting!
O strain, musical, flowing through ages—now reaching  
I take to your reckless and composite chords—I add to  
 them, and cheerfully pass them forward.


38As I have walk'd in Alabama my morning walk I have seen where the she-bird, the mocking-bird, sat  
 on her nest in the briers, hatching her brood.
39I have seen the he-bird also; I have paused to hear him, near at hand, inflating his  
 throat, and joyfully singing.
40And while I paused, it came to me that what he  
 really sang for was not there only,
Nor for his mate, nor himself only, nor all sent back by  
 the echoes;
But subtle, clandestine, away beyond, A charge transmitted, and gift occult, for those being  


41Democracy! Near at hand to you a throat is now inflating itself and  
 joyfully singing.
  [ begin page 21 ]ppp.00270.023.jpg 42Ma femme! For the brood beyond us and of us, For those who belong here, and those to come, I, exultant, to be ready for them, will now shake out  
 carols stronger and haughtier than have ever yet  
 been heard upon earth.
43I will make the songs of passion, to give them their  
And your songs, outlaw'd offenders—for I scan you  
 with kindred eyes, and carry you with me the  
 same as any.
44I will make the true poem of riches, To earn for the body and the mind whatever adheres,  
 and goes forward, and is not dropt by death.
45I will effuse egotism, and show it underlying all—and  
 I will be the bard of personality;
And I will show of male and female that either is but  
 the equal of the other;
And sexual organs and acts! do you concentrate in me  
 —for I am determin'd to tell you with courageous  
 clear voice, to prove you illustrious;
And I will show that there is no imperfection in the  
 present—and can be none in the future;
And I will show that whatever happens to anybody, it  
 may be turn'd to beautiful results—and I will  
 show that nothing can happen more beautiful  
 than death;
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 mira- 
 cles, each as profound as any.
46I will not make poems with reference to parts; But I will make leaves, poems, poemets, songs, says,  
 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;
  [ begin page 22 ]ppp.00270.024.jpg (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.)


47Was somebody asking to see the Soul? See! your own shape and countenance—persons, sub- 
 stances, beasts, the trees, the running rivers, the  
 rocks and sands.
48All hold spiritual joys, and afterwards loosen them: How can the real body ever die, and be buried? 49Of your real body, and any man's or woman's real body, Item for item, it will elude the hands of the corpse- 
 cleaners, and pass to fitting spheres,
Carrying what has accrued to it from the moment of  
 birth to the moment of death.
50Not the types set up by the printer return their im- 
 pression, the meaning, the main concern,
Any more than a man's substance and life, or a wo- 
 man's substance and life, return in the body and  
 the Soul,
Indifferently before death and after. death.
51Behold! the body includes and is the meaning, the  
 main concern—and includes and is the Soul;
Whoever you are! how superb and how divine is your  
 body, or any part of it.


52Whoever you are! to you endless announcements. 53Daughter of the lands, did you wait for your poet? Did you wait for one with a flowing mouth and indica- 
 tive hand?
54Toward the male of The States, and toward the fe- 
 male of The States,
Live words—words to the lands.
  [ begin page 23 ]ppp.00270.025.jpg 55O the lands! interlink'd, food-yielding lands! Land of coal and iron! Land of gold! Lands of cot- 
 ton, sugar, rice!
Land of wheat, beef, pork! Land of wool and hemp!  
 Land of the apple and grape!
Land of the pastoral plains, the grass-fields of the  
 world! Land of those sweet-air'd interminable  
Land of the herd, the garden, the healthy house of  
Lands where the north-west Columbia winds, and where  
 the south-west Colorado winds!
Land of the eastern Chesapeake! Land of the Dela- 
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 passion- 
 ate ones!
The side by side! the elder and younger brothers! the  
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 Caro- 
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 traveler, Splashing my bare feet in the edge of the summer rip- 
 ples, on Paumanok's sands,
Crossing the praries—dwelling again in Chicago—dwel- 
 ling in every town,
Observing shows, births, improvements, structures, arts,   [ begin page 24 ]ppp.00270.026.jpg Listening to the orators and the oratresses in public  
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;
Yet upon the plains west of the spinal river—yet in my  
 house of adobie,
Yet returning eastward—yet in the Sea-Side 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 of the Narragansett Bay State, or of 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 com- 
 panion and equal—coming personally to you  
Enjoining you to acts, characters, spectacles, with me.


56With me, with firm holding—yet haste, haste on. 57For your life adhere to me! Of all the men of the earth, I only can unloose you  
 and toughen you;
I may have to be persuaded many times before I con- 
 sent to give myself really to you—but what of  
Must not Nature be persuaded many times?
58No dainty dolce affettuoso I; Bearded, sun-burnt, gray-neck'd, forbidding, I have  
  [ begin page 25 ]ppp.00270.027.jpg To be wrestled with as I pass, for the solid prizes of  
 the universe;
For such I afford whoever can persevere to win them.


59On my way a moment I pause; Here for you! and here for America! Still the Present I raise aloft—Still the Future of The  
 States I harbinge, glad and sublime;
And for the Past, I pronounce what the air holds of  
 the red aborigines.
60The red aborigines! Leaving natural breaths, sounds of rain and winds,  
 calls as of birds and animals in the woods,  
 syllabled to us for names;
Okonee, Koosa, Ottawa, Monongahela, Sauk, Natchez,  
 Chattahoochee, Kaqueta, Oronoco,
Wabash, Miami, Saginaw, Chippewa, Oshkosh, Walla- 
Leaving such to The States, they melt, they depart,  
 charging the water and the land with names.


61O expanding and swift! O henceforth, Elements, breeds, adjustments, turbulent, quick, and  
A world primal again—Vistas of glory, incessant and  
A new race, dominating previous ones, and grander  
 far—with new contests,
New politics, new literatures and religions, new in- 
 ventions and arts.
62These! my voice announcing—I will sleep no more,  
 but arise;
You oceans that have been calm within me! how I  
 feel you, fathomless, stirring, preparing unpre- 
 cendented waves and storms.
  [ begin page 26 ]ppp.00270.028.jpg


63See! steamers steaming through my poems! See, in my poems immigrants continually coming and  
See, in arriere, the wigwam, the trail, the hunter's hut,  
 the flat-boat, the maize-leaf, the claim, the rude  
 fence, and the backwoods village;
See, on the one side the Western Sea, and on the  
 other the Eastern Sea, how they advance and  
 retreat upon my poems, as upon their own  
See, pastures and forests in my poems—See, animals,  
 wild and tame—See, beyond the Kansas, count- 
 less herds of buffalo, feeding on short curly  
See, in my poems, cities, solid, vast, inland, with paved  
 streets, with iron and stone edifices, ceaseless  
 vehicles, and commerce;
See, the many-cylinder'd steam printing-press—See,  
 the electric telegraph, stretching across the  
 Continent, from the Western Sea to Manhat- 
See, through Atlantica's depths, pulses American,  
 Europe reaching—pulses of Europe, duly re- 
See, the strong and quick locomotive, as it departs,  
 panting, blowing the steam whistle;
See, ploughmen, ploughing farms—See, miners, dig- 
 ging mines—See, the numberless factories;
See, mechanics, busy at their benches, with tools—  
 See, from among them, superior judges, philo- 
 sophs, Presidents, emerge, drest in working  
See, lounging through the shops and fields of The  
 States, me, well-belov'd, close-held by day and  
Hear the loud echoes of my songs there! Read the  
 hints come at last.
  [ begin page 27 ]ppp.00270.029.jpg


64O Camerado close! O you and me at last—and us two only. 65O a word to clear one's path ahead endlessly! O something extatic and undemonstrable! O music  
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.


Lo! THE unbounded sea! On its breast a Ship starting, spreading all her sails—  
 an ample Ship, carrying even her moonsails;
The pennant is flying aloft, as she speeds, she speeds  
 so stately— below, emulous waves press forward,
They surround the Ship, with shining curving motions,  
 and foam.
  [ begin page 28 ]ppp.00270.030.jpg


UNFOLDED out of the folds of the woman, man comes  
 unfolded, and is always to come unfolded;
Unfolded only out of the superbest woman of the earth,  
 is to come the superbest man of the earth;
Unfolded out of the friendliest woman, is to come the  
 friendliest man;
Unfolded only out of the perfect body of a woman, can  
 a man be form'd of perfect body;
Unfolded only out of the inimitable poem of the wo- 
 man can come the poems of man—(only thence  
 have my poems come;)
Unfolded out of the strong and arrogant woman I love,  
 only thence can appear the strong and arrogant  
 man I love;
Unfolded by brawny embraces from the well-muscled  
 woman I love, only thence come the brawny em- 
 braces of the man;
Unfolded out of the folds of the woman's brain, come  
 all the folds of the man's brain, duly obedient;
Unfolded out of the justice of the woman, all justice is  
Unfolded out of the sympathy of the woman is all sym- 
A man is a great thing upon the earth, and through  
 eternity—but every jot of the greatness of man  
 is unfolded out of woman,
First the man is shaped in the woman, he can then be  
 shaped in himself.


STRANGER! if you, passing, meet me, and desire to speak  
 to me, why should you not speak to me?
And why should I not speak to you?



1I CELEBRATE myself; And what I assume you shall assume; For every atom belonging to me, as good belongs to  
2I loafe and invite my Soul; I lean and loafe at my ease, observing a spear of sum- 
 mer grass.
3Houses and rooms are full of perfumes—the shelves  
 are crowded with perfumes;
I breathe the fragrance myself, and know it and like it; The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall  
 not let it.
4The atmosphere is not a perfume—it has no taste of the distillation—it is odorless; It is for my mouth forever—I am in love with it; I will go to the bank by the wood, and become undis- 
 guised and naked;
I am mad for it to be in contact with me.


5The 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;
  [ begin page 30 ]ppp.00270.032.jpg 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, words  
 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.
6Have 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  
7Stop this day and night with me, and you shall pos- 
 sess 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- 


8I have heard what the talkers were talking, the talk  
 of the beginning and the end;
But I do not talk of the beginning or the end.
9There was never any more inception than there is  
Nor any more youth or age than there is now;   [ begin page 31 ]ppp.00270.033.jpg And will never be any more perfection than there is  
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.
10Urge, and urge, and urge; Always the procreant urge of the world. 11Out of the dimness opposite equals advance—always  
 substance and increase, always sex;
Always a knit of identity—always distinction—always a  
 breed of life.
12To elaborate is no avail—learn'd and unlearn'd feel  
 that it is so.
13Sure 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.
14Clear and sweet is my Soul, and clear and sweet is all  
 that is not my Soul.
15Lack one lacks both, and the unseen is proved by  
 the seen,
Till that becomes unseen, and receives proof in its  
16Showing 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.
17Welcome 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.
  [ begin page 32 ]ppp.00270.034.jpg 18I 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 me a cent, Exactly the contents of one, and exactly the contents of  
 two, and which is ahead?


19Trippers and askers surround me; People I meet—the effect upon me of my early life, or  
 the ward and city I live in, or the nation,
The latest dates, discoveries, inventions, societies,  
 authors old and new,
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  
But they are not the Me myself.
20Apart from the pulling and hauling stands what I  
Stands amused, complacent, compassionating, idle, uni- 
Looks down, is erect, or bends an arm on an impalpable  
 certain rest,
Looking with side-curved head, curious what will come  
  [ begin page 33 ]ppp.00270.035.jpg Both in and out of the game, and watching and won- 
 dering at it.
21Backward 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.


22I believe in you, my Soul—the other I am must not  
 abase itself to you;
And you must not be abased to the other.
23Loafe with me on the grass—loose the stop from  
 your throat;
Not words, not music or rhyme I want—not custom or  
 lecture, not even the best;
Only the lull I like, the hum of your valved voice.
24I mind how once we lay, such a transparent summer  
How you settled your head athwart my hips, and gently  
 turn'd over upon me,
And parted my shirt from my bosom-bone, and plunged  
 your tongue to my bare-stript heart,
And reach'd till you felt my beard, and reach'd till you  
 held my feet.
25Swiftly arose and spread around me the peace and  
 knowledge that pass all the argument of the  
And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my  
And I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my  
And that all the men ever born are also my brothers,  
 and the women my sisters and lovers;
And that a kelson of the creation is love; And limitless are leaves, stiff or drooping in the fields; And brown ants in the little wells beneath them; And mossy scabs of the worm fence, and heap'd stones,  
 elder, mullen, and poke-weed.
  [ begin page 34 ]ppp.00270.036.jpg


26A child said, What is the grass? fetching it to me with  
 full hands;
How could I answer the child? I do not know what it  
 is, any more than he.
27I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of  
 hopeful green stuff woven.
28Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord, A scented gift and remembrancer, designedly dropt, Bearing the owner's name someway in the corners, that  
 we may see and remark, and say, Whose?
29Or I guess the grass is itself a child, the produced  
 babe of the vegetation.
30Or I guess it is a uniform hieroglyphic; And it means, Sprouting alike in broad zones and nar- 
 row zones,
Growing among black folks as among white; Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff, I give them the  
 same, I receive them the same.
31And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of  
32Tenderly will I use you, curling grass; It may be you transpire from the breasts of young  
It may be if I had known them I would have loved  
It may be you are from old people and from women,  
 and from offspring taken soon out of their  
 mothers' laps;
And here you are the mothers' laps;
33This grass is very dark to be from the white heads of  
 old mothers;
Darker than the colourless beards of old men; Dark to come from under the faint red roofs of mouths.
  [ begin page 35 ]ppp.00270.037.jpg 34O I perceive after all so many uttering tongues! And I perceive they do not come from the roofs of  
 mouths for nothing.
35I wish I could translate the hints about the dead  
 young men and women,
And the hints about old men and mothers, and the  
 offspring taken soon out of their laps.
36What do you think has become of the young and  
 old men?
And what do you think has become of the women and  
37They 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.
38All goes onward and outward—nothing collapses; And to die is different from what any one supposed,  
 and luckier.


39Has any one supposed it lucky to be born? I hasten to inform him or her, it is just as lucky to die,  
 and I know it.
40I pass death with the dying, and birth with the new- 
 wash'd babe, and am not contain'd between my  
 hat and boots;
And peruse manifold objects, no two alike, and every  
 one good;
The earth good, and the stars good, and their adjuncts  
 all good.
41I am not on earth, nor an adjunct of an earth; I am the mate and companion of people, all just as  
 immortal and fathomless as myself;
(They do not know how immortal, but I know.)
  [ begin page 36 ]ppp.00270.038.jpg 42Every kind for itself and its own—for me mine, male  
 and female;
For me those that have been boys, and that love  
For me the man that is proud, and feels how it stings  
 to be slighted;
For me the sweet-heart and the old maid—for me  
 mothers, and the mothers of mothers;
For me lips that have smiled, eyes that have shed tears; For me children, and the begetters of children.
43Undrape! you are not guilty to me, nor stale, nor  
I see through the broadcloth and gingham, whether  
 or no;
And am around, tenacious, acquisitive, tireless, and  
 cannot be shaken away.


44The little one sleeps in its cradle; I lift the gauze, and look a long time, and silently  
 brush away flies with my hand.
45The youngster and the red-faced girl turn aside up  
 the bushy hill;
I peeringly view them from the top.
46The suicide sprawls on the bloody floor of the bed- 
I witness the corpse with its dabbled hair—I note  
 where the pistol has fallen.
47The blab of the pave, the tires of carts, sluff of boot- 
 soles, talk of the promenaders;
The heavy omnibus, the driver with his interrogating  
 thumb, the clank of the shod horses on the  
 granite floor;
The snow-sleighs, the clinking, shouted jokes, pelts of  
  [ begin page 37 ]ppp.00270.039.jpg The hurrahs for popular favorites, the fury of rous'd  
The flap of the curtain'd litter, a sick man inside, borne  
 to the hospital;
The meeting of enemies, the sudden oath, the blows  
 and fall;
The excited crowd, the policeman with his star, quickly  
 working his passage to the centre of the crowd;
The impassive stones that receive and return so many  
What groans of over-fed or half-starv'd who fall sun- 
 struck, or in fits;
What exclamations of women taken suddenly, who  
 hurry home and give birth to babes;
What living and buried speech is always vibrating  
 here—what howls restrain'd by decorum;
Arrests of criminals, slights, adulterous offers made,  
 acceptances, rejections with convex lips;
I mind them or the show or resonance of them—I  
 come, and I depart.


48The big doors of the country barn stand open and  
The dried grass of the harvest-time loads the slow- 
 drawn wagon;
The clear light plays on the brown gray and green  
The armfuls are pack'd to the sagging mow.
49I am there—I help—I came stretch'd atop of the  
I felt its soft jolts—one leg reclined on the other; I jump from the cross-beams, and seize the clover and  
And roll head over heels, and tangle my hair full of  


50Alone, far in the wilds and mountains, I hunt,   [ begin page 38 ]ppp.00270.040.jpgWandering, amazed at my own lightness and glee; In the late afternoon choosing a safe spot to pass the  
Kindling a fire and broiling the fresh-kill'd game; Falling asleep on the gather'd leaves, with my dog and  
 gun by my side.
51The Yankee clipper is under her sky-sails—she cuts  
 the sparkle and scud;
My eyes settle the land—I bend at her prow, or shout  
 joyously from the deck.
52The boatmen and clam-diggers arose early and stopt  
 for me;
I tuck'd my trowser-ends in my boots, and went and  
 had a good time:
(You should have been with us that day round the  
53I saw the marriage of the trapper in the open air in  
 the far west—the bride was a red girl;
Her father and his friends sat near, cross-legged and  
 dumbly smoking—they had moccasins to their  
 feet, and large thick blankets hanging from their  
On a bank lounged the trapper—he was drest mostly in  
 skins—his luxuriant beard and curls protected  
 his neck—he held his bride by the hand;
She had long eyelashes—her head was bare—her coarse  
 straight locks descended upon her voluptuous  
 limbs and reach'd to her feet.
54The runaway slave came to my house and stopt out- 
I heard his motions crackling the twigs of the wood- 
Through the swung half-door of the kitchen I saw him  
 limpsy and weak,
And went where he sat on a log, and led him in and  
 assured him,
  [ begin page 39 ]ppp.00270.041.jpg And brought water, and fill'd a tub for his sweated  
 body and bruis'd feet,
And gave him a room that enter'd from my own, and  
 gave him some coarse clean clothes,
And remember perfectly well his revolving eyes and his  
And remember putting plasters on the galls of his neck  
 and ankles;
He staid with me a week before he was recuperated and  
 pass'd north;
(I had him sit next me at table—my fire-lock lean'd in  
 the corner.)


55Twenty-eight young men bathe by the shore; Twenty-eight young men, and all so friendly: Twenty-eight years of womanly life, and all so lone- 
56She owns the fine house by the rise of the bank; She hides, handsome and richly drest, aft the blinds of  
 the window.
57Which of the young men does she like the best? Ah, the homeliest of them is beautiful to her. 58Where are you off to, lady? for I see you; You splash in the water there, yet stay stock still in  
 your room.
59Dancing and laughing along the beach came the  
 twenty-ninth bather;
The rest did not see her, but she saw them and loved  
60The beards of the young men glisten'd with wet, it  
 ran from their long hair:
Little streams pass'd all over their bodies.
61An unseen hand also pass'd over their bodies; It descended tremblingly from their temples and ribs.   [ begin page 40 ]ppp.00270.042.jpg 62The young men float on their backs—their white bel- 
 lies bulge to the sun—they do not ask who seizes  
 fast to them;
They do not know who puffs and declines with pendant  
 and bending arch;
They do not think whom they souse with spray.


63The butcher-boy puts off his killing clothes, or  
 sharpens his knife at the stall in the market;
I loiter, enjoying his repartee, and his shuffle and  
64Blacksmiths with grimed and hairy chests environ  
 the anvil;
Each has his main-sledge—they are all out—(there is  
 a great heat in the fire.)
65From the cinder-strew'd threshold I follow their  
The lithe sheer of their waists plays even with their  
 massive arms;
Over-hand the hammers swing—over-hand so slow—  
 over-hand so sure:
They do not hasten—each man hits in his place.


66The negro holds firmly the reins of his four horses  
 —the block swags underneath on its tied-over  
The negro that drives the dray of the stone-yard—  
 steady and tall he stands, pois'd on one leg on  
 the string-piece;
His blue shirt exposes his ample neck and breast, and  
 loosens over his hip-band;
His glance is calm and commanding—he tosses the  
 slouch of his hat away from his forehead;
The sun falls on his crispy hair and moustache—falls  
 on the black of his polish'd and perfect limbs.
  [ begin page 41 ]ppp.00270.043.jpg 67I behold the picturesque giant, and love him—and I  
 do not stop there;
I go with the team also.
68In me the caresser of life wherever moving—back- 
 ward as well as forward slueing;
To niches aside and junior bending.
69Oxen that rattle the yoke and chain, or halt in the  
 leafy shade! what is that you express in your  
It seems to me more than all the print I have read in  
 my life.
70My tread scares the wood-drake and wood-duck, on  
 my distant and day-long ramble;
They rise together—they slowly circle around.
71I believe in those wing'd purposes, And acknowledge red, yellow, white, playing within me, And consider green and violet, and the tufted crown,  
And do not call the tortoise unworthy because she is  
 not something else;
And the jay in the woods never studied the gamut, yet  
 trills pretty well to me;
And the look of the bay mare shames silliness out of  


72The wild gander leads his flock through the cool  
Ya-honk! he says, and sounds it down to me like an  
(The pert may suppose it meaningless, but I listen  
I find its purpose and place up there toward the wintry  
  [ begin page 42 ]ppp.00270.044.jpg 73The 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.
74The press of my foot to the earth springs a hundred  
They scorn the best I can do to relate them.
75I am enamour'd of growing out-doors, Of men that live among cattle, or taste of the ocean or  
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.
76What 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.


77The pure contralto sings in the organ loft; The carpenter dresses his plank—the tongue of his  
 foreplane whistles its wild ascending lisp;
The married and unmarried children ride home to their  
 Thanksgiving dinner;
The pilot seizes the king-pin—he heaves down with a  
 strong arm;
The mate stands braced in the whale-boat—lance and  
 harpoon are ready;
The duck-shooter walks by silent and cautious stretches; The deacons are ordain'd with cross'd hands at the  
The spinning-girl retreats and advances to the hum of  
 the big wheel;
  [ begin page 43 ]ppp.00270.045.jpg The farmer stops by the bars, as he walks on a First-  
 day loafe, and looks at the oats and rye;
The lunatic is carried at last to the asylum, a confirm'd  
(He will never sleep any more as he did in the cot in  
 his mother's bedroom;)
The jour printer with gray head and gaunt jaws works  
 at his case,
He turns his quid of tobacco, while his eyes blurr with  
 the manuscript;
The malform'd limbs are tied to the surgeon's table, What is removed drops horribly in a pail; 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 trav- 
 els 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  
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  
The squaw, wrapt in her yellow-hemm'd cloth, is offer- 
 ing 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;
  [ begin page 44 ]ppp.00270.046.jpg 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 nine months' gone is in the parturition chamber,  
 her faintness and pains are advancing;
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 red and gold;
The canal-boy trots on the tow-path—the book-keeper  
 counts at his desk—the shoemaker waxes his  
The conductor beats time for the band, and all the per- 
 formers follow him;
The child is baptized—the convert is making his first  
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 pur- 
 chaser higgling about the odd cent;)
The camera and plate are prepared, the lady must sit  
 for her daguerreotype;
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  
The President, holding a cabinet council, is surrounded  
 by the Great Secretaries;
On the piazza walk three matrons stately and friendly  
 with twined arms;
  [ begin page 45 ]ppp.00270.047.jpg The crew of the fish-smack pack repeated layers of hal- 
 ibut 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  
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  
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 pekan-trees;
Coon-seekers go through the regions of the Red river,  
 or through those drain'd by the Tennessee, or  
 through those of the Arkansaw;
Torches shine in the dark that hangs on the Chatta- 
 hooche 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  
The old husband sleeps by his wife, and the young hus- 
 band sleeps by his wife;
And these one and all tend inward to me, and I tend  
 outward to them;
And such as it is to be of these, more or less, I am.
  [ begin page 46 ]ppp.00270.048.jpg


78I am of old and young, of the foolish as much as the  
Regardless of others, ever regardful of others, Maternal as well as paternal, a child as well as a man, Stuff'd with the stuff that is coarse, and stuff'd with the  
 stuff that is fine;
One of the Great Nation, the nation of many nations,  
 the smallest the same, and the largest the same;
A southerner soon as a northerner—a planter non- 
 chalant and hospitable, down by the Oconee I  
A Yankee, bound my own way, ready for trade, my  
 joints the limberest joints on earth, and the stern- 
 est joints on earth;
A Kentuckian, walking the vale of the Elkhorn, in my  
 deer-skin leggings—a Louisianian or Georgian;
A boatman over lakes or bays, or along coasts—a  
 Hoosier, Badger, Buckeye;
At home on Kanadian snow-shoes, or up in the bush, or  
 with fishermen off Newfoundland;
At home in the fleet of ice-boats, sailing with the rest  
 and tacking;
At home on the hills of Vermont; or in the woods of  
 Maine, or the Texan ranch;
Comrade of Californians—comrade of free north-west- 
 erners, (loving their big proportions;)
Comrade of raftsmen and coalmen—comrade of all who  
 shake hands and welcome to drink and meat;
A learner with the simplest, a teacher of the thought- 
A novice beginning, yet experient of myriads of sea- 
Of every hue and caste am I, of every rank and reli- 
A farmer, mechanic, artist, gentleman, sailor, quaker; A prisoner, fancy-man, rowdy, lawyer, physician, priest.
79I resist anything better than my own diversity;   [ begin page 47 ]ppp.00270.049.jpgI breathe the air, but leave plenty after me, And am not stuck up, and am in my place. 80(The moth and the fish-eggs are in their place; The suns I see, and the suns I cannot see, are in their  
The, palpable is in its place, and the impalpable is in its  


81These are the thoughts of all men in all ages and  
 lands—they are not original with me;
If they are not yours as much as mine, they are nothing,  
 or next to nothing;
If they are not the riddle, and the untying of the riddle,  
 they are nothing;
If they are not just as close as they are distant, they are  
82This is the grass that grows wherever the land is, and  
 the water is;
This is the common air that bathes the globe.


83With music strong I come—with my cornets and my  
I play not marches for accepted victors only—I play  
 great marches for conquered and slain persons.
84Have you heard that it was good to gain the day? I also say it is good to fall—battles are lost in the same  
 spirit in which they are won.
85I beat and pound for the dead; I blow through my embouchures my loudest and gayest  
 for them.
86Vivas to those who have fail'd! And to those whose war-vessels sank in the sea! And to those themselves who sank in the sea!   [ begin page 48 ]ppp.00270.050.jpg And to all generals that lost engagements! and all over- 
 come heroes!
And the numberless unknown heroes, equal to the  
 greatest heroes known.


87This is the meal equally set—this is the meat for  
 natural hunger;
It is for the wicked just the same as the righteous—I  
 make appointments with all;
I will not have a single person slighted or left away; The kept-woman, sponger, thief, are hereby invited; The heavy-lipp'd slave is invited—the venerealee is in- 
There shall be no difference between them and the rest.
88This is the press of a bashful hand—this is the float  
 and odor of hair;
This is the touch of my lips to yours—this is the mur- 
 mur of yearning:
This is the far-off depth and height reflecting my own  
This is the thoughtful merge of myself, and the outlet  
89Do 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.
90Do you take it I would astonish? Does the daylight astonish? Does the early redstart,  
 twittering through the woods?
Do I astonish more than they?
91This hour I tell things in confidence; I might not tell everybody, but I will tell you.


92Who goes there? hankering, gross, mystical, nude; How is it I extract strength from the beef I eat?   [ begin page 49 ]ppp.00270.051.jpg 93What is a man, anyhow? What am I? What are you? 94All I mark as my own, you shall offset it with your own; Else it were time lost listening to me. 95I do not snivel that snivel the world over, That months are vacuums, and the ground but wallow  
 and filth;
That life is a suck and a sell, and nothing remains at  
 the end but threadbare crape, and tears.
96Whimpering and truckling fold with powders for  
 invalids—conformity goes to the fourth-remov'd;
I wear my hat as I please, indoors or out.
97Why should I pray? Why should I venerate and be  
98Having pried through the strata, analyzed to a hair,  
 counsell'd with doctors, and calculated close,
I find no sweeter fat than sticks to my own bones.
99In all people I see myself—none more, and not one a  
 barley-corn less;
And the good or bad I say of myself, I say of them.
100And I know I am solid and sound; To me the converging objects of the universe perpetu- 
 ally flow;
All are written to me, and I must get what the writing  
101I know I am deathless; I know this orbit of mine cannot be swept by the car- 
 penter's compass;
I know I shall not pass like a child's carlacue cut with  
 a burnt stick at night.
102I know I am august;   [ begin page 50 ]ppp.00270.052.jpg I do not trouble my spirit to vindicate itself or be  
I see that the elementary laws never apologize; (I reckon I behave no prouder than the level I plant  
 my house by, after all.)
103I 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; 104One 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.
105My foothold is tenon'd and mortis'd in granite; I laugh at what you call dissolution; And I know the amplitude of time.


106I am the poet of the Body; And I am the poet of the Soul. 107The pleasures of heaven are with me, and the pains  
 of hell are with me;
The first I graft and increase upon myself—the latter I  
 translate into a new tongue.
108I am the poet of the woman the same as the man; And I say it is as great to be a woman as to be a man; And I say there is nothing greater than the mother of  
100I chant the chant of dilation or pride; We have had ducking and deprecating about enough; I show that size is only development. 110Have you outstript the rest? Are you the Presi- 
  [ begin page 51 ]ppp.00270.053.jpg It is a trifle—they will more than arrive there, every  
 one, and still pass on.
111I am he that walks with the tender and growing  
I call to the earth and sea, half-held by the night.
112Press close, bare-bosom'd night! Press close, mag- 
 netic, nourishing night!
Night of south winds! night of the large few stars! Still, nodding night! mad, naked, summer night.
113Smile, O voluptuous, cool-breath'd earth! Earth of the slumbering and liquid trees; Earth of departed sunset! earth of the mountains,  
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  
Smile, for your lover comes!
114Prodigal, you have given me love! Therefore I to  
 you give love!
O unspeakable, passionate love!


115You sea! I resign myself to you also—I guess what  
 you mean;
I behold from the beach your crooked inviting fingers; I believe you refuse to go back without feeling of me; We must have a turn together—I undress—hurry me  
 out of sight of the land;
Cushion me soft, rock me in billowy drowse; Dash me with amorous wet—I can repay you.
116Sea of stretch'd ground-swells!   [ begin page 52 ]ppp.00270.054.jpgSea breathing broad and convulsive breaths! Sea of the brine of life! sea of unshovell'd yet always- 
 ready graves!
Howler and scooper of storms! capricious and dainty  
I am integral with you—I too am of one phase, and of  
 all phases.
117Partaker of influx and efflux I—extoller of hate and  
Extoller of amies, and those that sleep in each others'  
118I am he attesting sympathy; (Shall I make my list of things in the house, and skip  
 the house that supports them?)
119I am not the poet of goodness only—I do not decline  
 to be the poet of wickedness also.
120Washes and razors for foofoos—for me freckles and a  
 bristling beard.
121What blurt is this about virtue and about vice? Evil propels me, and reform of evil propels me—I stand  
My gait is no fault-finder's or rejecter's gait; I moisten the roots of all that has grown.
122Did you fear some scrofula out of the unflagging  
Did you guess the celestial laws are yet to be work'd  
 over and rectified?
123I find one side a balance, and the antipodal side a  
Soft doctrine as steady help as stable doctrine; Thoughts and deeds of the present, our rouse and early  
  [ begin page 53 ]ppp.00270.055.jpg 124This minute that comes to me over the past decil- 
There is no better than it and now.
125What behaved well in the past, or behaves well to- 
 day, is not such a wonder;
The wonder is, always and always, how there can be a  
 mean man or an infidel.


126Endless unfolding of words of ages! And mine a word of the modern—the word En-Masse. 127A word of the faith that never balks; Here or henceforward, it is all the same to me—I  
 accept Time, absolutely.
128It alone is without flaw—it rounds and completes  
That mystic, baffling wonder I love, alone completes  
120I accept reality, and dare not question it; Materialism first and last imbuing. 130Hurrah for positive science! long live exact demon- 
Fetch stonecrop, mixt with cedar and branches of  
This is the lexicographer—this the chemist—this made  
 a grammar of the old cartouches;
These mariners put the ship through dangerous un- 
 known seas;
This is the geologist—this works with the scalpel—and  
 this is a mathematician.
131Gentlemen! to you the first honors always: Your facts are useful and real—and yet they are not  
 my dwelling;
(I but enter by them to an area of my dwelling.)
132   [ begin page 54 ]ppp.00270.056.jpg 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.


133Walt Whitman am I, a Kosmos, of mighty Manhat- 
 tan the son,
Turbulent, fleshy and sensual, eating, drinking and  
No sentimentalist—no stander above men and women,  
 or apart from them;
No more modest than immodest.
134Unscrew the locks from the doors! Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs! 135Whoever degrades another degrades me; And whatever is done or said returns at last to me. 136Through me the afflatus surging and surging—  
 through me the current and index.
137I speak the pass-word primeval—I give the sign of  
By God! I will accept nothing which all cannot have  
 their counterpart of on the same terms.
138Through me many long dumb voices; Voices of the interminable generations of slaves; Voices of prostitutes, and of deform'd persons; Voices of the diseas'd and despairing, and of thieves  
 and dwarfs;
Voices of cycles of preparation and accretion, And of the threads that connect the stars—and of  
 wombs and of the father-stuff,
And of the rights of them the others are down upon;   [ begin page 55 ]ppp.00270.057.jpgOf the trivial, flat, foolish, despised, Fog in the air, beetles rolling balls of dung.
139Through me forbidden voices; Voices of sexes and lusts—voices veil'd, and I remove  
 the veil;
Voices indecent, by me clarified and transfigur'd.
140I do not press my fingers across my mouth; I keep as delicate around the bowels as around the  
 head and heart;
Copulation is no more rank to me than death is.
141I believe in the flesh and the appetites; Seeing, hearing, feeling, are miracles, and each part  
 and tag of me is a miracle.
142Divine am I inside and out, and I make holy what- 
 ever 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  
143If I worship one thing more than another, it shall  
 be the spread of my own body, or any part of it.
144Translucent mould of me, it shall be you! Shaded ledges and rests, it shall be you! Firm masculine colter, it shall be you. 145Whatever goes to the tilth of me, it shall be you! You my rich blood! Your milky stream, pale strippings  
 of my life.
146Breast that presses against other breasts, it shall be  
My brain, it shall be your occult convolutions.
147Root of wash'd sweet flag! timorous pond-snipe!  
 nest of guarded duplicate eggs! it shall be you!
  [ begin page 56 ]ppp.00270.058.jpg Mix'd tussled hay of head, beard, brawn, it shall be  
Trickling sap of maple! fibre of manly wheat! it shall  
 be you!
148Sun 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.
149I dote on myself—there is that lot of me, and all so  
Each moment, and whatever happens, thrills me with  
150O I am wonderful! 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.
151That 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.
152To behold the day-break! The little light fades the immense and diaphanous  
The air tastes good to my palate.
153Hefts of the moving world, at innocent gambols,  
 silently rising, freshly exuding,
Scooting obliquely high and low.
  [ begin page 57 ]ppp.00270.059.jpg 154Something I cannot see puts upward libidinous  
Seas of bright juice suffuse heaven.
155The 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  


156Dazzling and tremendous, how quick the sun-rise  
 would kill me,
If I could not now and always send sun-rise out of  
157We also ascend, dazzling and tremendous as the  
We found our own, O my Soul, in the calm and cool  
 of the daybreak.
158My voice goes after what my eyes cannot reach; With the twirl of my tongue I encompass worlds, and  
 volumes of worlds.
159Speech is the twin of my vision—it is unequal to  
 measure itself;
It provokes me forever; It says sarcastically, Walt, you contain enough—why  
  don't you let it out, then?
160Come now, I will not be tantalized—you conceive  
 too much of articulation.
161Do you not know, O speech, how the buds beneath  
 you are folded?
Waiting in gloom, protected by frost; The dirt receding before my prophetical screams; I underlying causes, to balance them at last;   [ begin page 58 ]ppp.00270.060.jpg My knowledge my live parts—it keeping tally with the  
 meaning of things,
HAPPINESS—which, whoever hears me, let him or her set  
 out in search of this day.
162My final merit I refuse you—I refuse putting from  
 me what I really am;
Encompass worlds, but never try to encompass me; I crowd your sleekest and best by simply looking to- 
 ward you.
163Writing and talk do not prove me; I carry the plenum of proof, and everything else, in my  
With the hush of my lips I wholly confound the skep- 


164I think I will do nothing now but listen, To accrue what I hear into myself—to let sounds con- 
 tribute toward me.
165I hear bravuras of birds, bustle of growing wheat,  
 gossip of flames, clack of sticks cooking my  
I hear the sound I love, the sound of the human  
I hear all sounds running together, combined, fused or  
Sounds of the city, and sounds out of the city—sounds  
 of the day and night;
Talkative young ones to those that like them—the loud  
 laugh of work-people at their meals;
The angry base of disjointed friendship—the faint tones  
 of the sick;
The judge with hands tight to the desk, his pallid lips  
 pronouncing a death-sentence;
The heave'e'yo of stevedores unlading ships by the  
 wharves—the refrain of the anchor-lifters;
  [ begin page 59 ]ppp.00270.061.jpg The ring of alarm-bells—the cry of fire—the whirr of  
 swift-streaking engines and hose-carts, with pre- 
 monitory tinkles, and color'd lights;
The steam-whistle—the solid roll of the train of ap- 
 proaching cars;
The slow-march play'd at the head of the association,  
 marching two and two;
(They go to guard some corpse—the flag tops are  
 draped with black muslin.)
166I hear the violoncello, ('tis the young man's heart's  
I hear the key'd cornet—it glides quickly in through  
 my ears;
It shakes mad-sweet pangs through my belly and  
167I hear the chorus—it is a grand opera; Ah, this indeed is music! This suits me. 168A tenor large and fresh as the creation fills me; The orbic flex of his mouth is pouring and filling me  
169I hear the train'd soprano—(what work, with hers,  
 is this?)
The orchestra whirls me wider than Uranus flies; It wrenches such ardors from me, I did not know I  
 possess'd them;
It sails me—I dab with bare feet—they are lick'd by  
 the indolent waves;
I am exposed, cut by bitter and angry hail—I lose my  
Steep'd amid honey'd morphine, my windpipe throt- 
 tled in fakes of death;
At length let up again to feel the puzzle of puzzles, And that we call BEING.
  [ begin page 60 ]ppp.00270.062.jpg


170To be, in any form—what is that? (Round and round we go, all of us, and ever come back  
If nothing lay more develop'd, the quahaug in its cal- 
 lous shell were enough.
171Mine is no callous shell; I have instant conductors all over me, whether I pass  
 or stop;
They seize every object and lead it harmlessly through  
172I merely stir, press, feel with my fingers, and am  
To touch my person to some one else's is about as much  
 as I can stand.


173Is this then a touch? quivering me to a new iden- 
Flames and ether making a rush for my veins, Treacherous tip of me reaching and crowding to help  
My flesh and blood playing out lightning to strike what  
 is hardly different from myself;
On all sides prurient provokers stiffening my limbs, Straining the udder of my heart for its withheld drip, Behaving licentious toward me, taking no denial, Depriving me of my best, as for a purpose, Unbuttoning my clothes, holding me by the bare waist, Deluding my confusion with the calm of the sunlight  
 and pasture-fields,
Immodestly sliding the fellow-senses away, They bribed to swap off with touch, and go and graze  
 at the edges of me;
No consideration, no regard for my draining strength  
 or my anger;
Fetching the rest of the herd around to enjoy them a  
  [ begin page 61 ]ppp.00270.063.jpg Then all uniting to stand on a headland and worry  
174The sentries desert every other part of me; They have left me helpless to a red marauder; They all come to the headland, to witness and assist  
 against me.
175I am given up by traitors; I talk wildly—I have lost my wits—I and nobody else  
 am the greatest traitor;
I went myself first to the headland—my own hands car- 
 ried me there.
176You villain touch! what are you doing? My breath  
 is tight in its throat;
Unclench your floodgates! you are too much for me.


177Blind, loving, wrestling touch! sheath'd, hooded,  
 sharp tooth'd touch!
Did it make you ache so, leaving me?
178Parting, track'd by arriving—perpetual payment of  
 perpetual loan;
Rich, showering rain, and recompense richer after- 
179Sprouts take and accumulate—stand by the curb  
 prolific and vital:
Landscapes, projected, masculine, full-sized and golden.


180All truths wait in all things; They neither hasten their own delivery, nor resist it; They do not need the obstetric forceps of the surgeon; The insignificant is as big to me as any; (What is less or more than a touch?) 181   [ begin page 62 ]ppp.00270.064.jpg Logic and sermons never convince; The damp of the night drives deeper into my soul. 182Only what proves itself to every man and woman is  
Only what nobody denies is so.
183A minute and a drop of me settle my brain; I believe the soggy clods shall become lovers and  
And a compend of compends is the meat of a man or  
And a summit and flower there is the feeling they have  
 for each other,
And they are to branch boundlessly out of that lesson  
 until it becomes omnific,
And until every one shall delight us, and we them.


184I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey- 
 work of the stars,
And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand,  
 and the egg of the wren,
And the tree-toad is a chef-d'uvre for the highest, And the running blackberry would adorn the parlors of  
And the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all  
And the cow crunching with depress'd head surpasses  
 any statue,
And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of  
And I could come every afternoon of my life to look at  
 the farmer's girl boiling her iron tea-kettle and  
 baking short-cake.
185I find I incorporate gneiss, coal, long-threaded moss,  
 fruits, grains, esculent roots,
And am stucco'd with quadrupeds and birds all over,   [ begin page 63 ]ppp.00270.065.jpg And have distanced what is behind me for good rea- 
And call anything close again, when I desire it.
186In 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  
In vain objects stand leagues off, and assume manifold  
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.


187I think I could turn and live with animals, they are  
 so placid and self-contain'd;
I stand and look at them long and long.
188They do not sweat and whine about their condition; They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their  
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God; Not one is dissatisfied—not one is demented with the  
 mania of owning things;
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived  
 thousands of years ago;
Not one is respectable or industrious over the whole  
189So they show their relations to me, and I accept  
They bring me tokens of myself—they evince them  
 plainly in their possession.
190   [ begin page 64 ]ppp.00270.066.jpg I wonder where they get those tokens: Did I pass that way huge times ago, and negligently  
 drop them?
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  
Not too exclusive toward the reachers of my remem- 
Picking out here one that I love, and now go with him  
 on brotherly terms.
191A 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, flex- 
 ibly moving.
192His nostrils dilate, as my heels embrace him; His well-built limbs tremble with pleasure, as we race  
 around and return.
193I but use you a moment, then I resign you, stallion; Why do I need your paces, when I myself out-gallop  
Even, as I stand or sit, passing faster than you.


194O swift wind! O space and time! now I see it is  
 true, what I guessed at;
What I guess'd when I loaf'd on the grass; What I guess'd while I lay alone in my bed, And again as I walk'd the beach under the paling stars  
 of the morning.
195My ties and ballasts leave me—I travel—I sail—my  
 elbows rest in the sea-gaps;
I skirt the sierras—my palms cover continents; I am afoot with my vision.
  [ begin page 65 ]ppp.00270.067.jpg 196By the city's quadrangular houses—in log huts—  
 camping with lumbermen;
Along the ruts of the turnpike—along the dry gulch  
 and rivulet bed;
Weeding my onion-patch, or hoeing rows of carrots and  
 parsnips—crossing savannas—trailing in forests;
Prospecting—gold-digging—girdling the trees of a new  
Scorch'd ankle-deep by the hot sand—hauling my boat  
 down the shallow river;
Where the panther walks to and fro on a limb overhead  
 —where the buck turns furiously at the hunter;
Where the rattlesnake suns his flabby length on a rock  
 —where the otter is feeding on fish;
Where the alligator in his tough pimples sleeps by the  
Where the black bear is searching for roots or honey—  
 where the beaver pats the mud with his paddle- 
 shaped tail;
Over the growing sugar—over the yellow-flower'd cotton  
 plant—over the rice in its low moist field;
Over the shar-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, hold- 
 ing 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  
Where the bat flies in the Seventh-month eve—where  
 the great gold-bug drops through the dark;
Where flails keep time on the barn-floor; Where the brook puts out of the roots of the old tree  
 and flows to the meadow;
  [ begin page 66 ]ppp.00270.068.jpg Where cattle stand and shake away flies with the tremu- 
 lous shuddering of their hides;
Where the cheese-cloth hangs in the kitchen—where  
 andirons straddle the hearth-slab—where cob- 
 webs 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, (float- 
 ing 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  
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 cur- 
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  
Under Niagara, the cataract falling like a veil over my  
Upon a door-step—upon the horse-block of hard wood  
Upon the race-course, or enjoying picnics or jigs, or a  
 good game of base-ball;
At he-festivals, with blackguard jibes, 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  
  [ begin page 67 ]ppp.00270.069.jpg At musters, beach-parties, friendly bees, huskings,  
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 scattered—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  
Where winter wolves bark amidst wastes of snow and  
 icicled trees;
Where the yellow-crowned 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  
Through the gymnasium—through the curtain'd saloon  
 —through the office or public hall;
  [ begin page 68 ]ppp.00270.070.jpg Pleas'd with the native, and pleas'd with the foreign—  
 pleas'd with the new and old;
Pleas'd with women, the homely as well as the hand- 
Pleas'd with the quakeress as she puts off her bonnet  
 and talks melodiously;
Pleas'd with the tune of the choir of the white-wash'd  
Pleas'd with the earnest words of the sweating Metho- 
 dist preacher, or any preacher—impress'd seri- 
 ously at the camp-meeting:
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,
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  
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  
Solitary at midnight in my back yard, my thoughts gone  
 from me a long while;
Walking the old hills of Judea, 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;
  [ begin page 69 ]ppp.00270.071.jpg 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.
197I visit the orchard of spheres, and look at the  
And look at quintillions ripened, and look at quintillions  
198I fly the flight of the fluid and swallowing soul; My course runs below the soundings of plummets. 199I help myself to material and immaterial; No guard can shut me off, nor law prevent me. 200I anchor my ship for a little while only; My messengers continually cruise away, or bring their  
 returns to me.
201I go hunting polar furs and the seal—leaping chasms  
 with a pike-pointed staff—clinging to topples of  
 brittle and blue.
202I ascend to the foretruck; 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 towards 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;
  [ begin page 70 ]ppp.00270.072.jpg Or we are entering by the suburbs some vast and ruin'd  
The blocks and fallen architecture more than all the  
 living cities of the globe.)
203I am a free companion—I bivouac by invading  
204I turn the bridegroom out of bed, and stay with the  
 bride myself;
I tighten her all night to my thighs and lips.
205My 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.
206I 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 steam-ship, and Death chasing it up and  
 down the storm;
How he knuckled tight, and gave not back one 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—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.
207The disdain and calmness of olden martyrs; The mother, 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;
  [ begin page 71 ]ppp.00270.073.jpg The twinges that sting like needles his legs and neck—  
 the murderous buckshot and the bullets;
All these I feel, or am.
208I am the hounded slave, I wince at the bite of the  
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.
209Agonies are one of my changes of garments; I do not ask the wounded person how he feels—I my- 
 self become the wounded person;
My hurts turn livid upon me as I lean on a cane and  
210I 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.
211I 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  
212Distant and dead resuscitate; They show as the dial or move as the hands of me—  
 I am the clock myself.
  [ begin page 72 ]ppp.00270.074.jpg 213I am an old artillerist—I tell of my fort's bombard- 
I am there again.
214Again the long roll of the drummers; Again the attacking cannon, mortars; Again, to my listening ears, the cannon responsive. 215I take part—I see and hear the whole; The cries, curses, roar—the plaudits for well-aimed  
The ambulanza slowly passing, trailing its red drip; Workmen searching after damages, making indispen- 
 sable 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.
216Again gurgles the mouth of my dying general—he  
 furiously waves with his hand;
He gasps through the clot, Mind not me—mind—the  


217Now I tell what I knew in Texas in my early youth; (I tell not the fall of Alamo, Not one escaped to tell the fall of Alamo, The hundred and fifty are dumb yet at Alamo;) 'Tis the tale of the murder in cold blood of four hun- 
 dred and twelve young men.
218Retreating, they had form'd in a hollow square, with  
 their baggage for breastworks;
Nine hundred lives out of the surrounding enemy's,  
 nine times their number, was the price they took  
 in advance;
Their colonel was wounded and their ammunition  
They treated for an honorable capitulation, receiv'd  
 writing and seal, gave up their arms, and march'd  
 back prisoners of war.
  [ begin page 73 ]ppp.00270.075.jpg 219They were the glory of the race of rangers; Matchless with horse, rifle, song, supper, courtship, Large, turbulent, generous, handsome, proud, and affec- 
Bearded, sunburnt, drest in the free costume of hun- 
Not a single one over thirty years of age.
220The second First-day morning they were brought  
 out in squads, and massacred—it was beautiful  
 early summer;
The work commenced about five o'clock, and was over  
 by eight.
221None obey'd the command to kneel; Some made a mad and helpless rush—some stood stark  
 and straight;
A few fell at once, shot in the temple or heart—the liv- 
 ing and dead lay together;
The maim'd and mangled dug in the dirt—the new- 
 comers saw them there;
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  
222At eleven o'clock began the burning of the bodies: That is the tale of the murder of the four hundred and  
 twelve young men.


223Would you hear of an old-fashion'd sea-fight? Would you learn who won by the light of the moon and  
List to the story as my grandmother's father, the sailor,  
 told it to me.
  [ begin page 74 ]ppp.00270.076.jpg 224Our foe was no skulk in his ship, I tell you, (said he;) His was the surly English pluck—and there is no  
 tougher or truer, and never was, and never will  
Along the lower'd eve he came, horribly raking us.
225We closed with him—the yards entangled—the can- 
 non touch'd;
My captain lash'd fast with his own hands.
226We had receiv'd some eighteen pound shots under  
 the water;
On our lower-gun-deck two large pieces had burst at  
 the first fire, killing all around, and blowing up  
227Fighting at sun-down, fighting at dark; Ten o'clock at night, the full moon well up, our leaks  
 on the gain, and five feet of water reported;
The master-at-arms loosing the prisoners confined in  
 the after-hold, to give them a chance for them- 
228The transit to and from the magazine is now stopt  
 by the sentinels,
They see so many strange faces, they do not know whom  
 to trust.
229Our frigate takes fire; The other asks if we demand quarter? If our colors are struck, and the fighting is done? 230Now I laugh content, for I hear the voice of my little  
We have not struck, he composedly cries, we have just  
  begun our part of the fighting.
231Only three guns are in use; One is directed by the captain himself against the ene- 
 my's main-mast;
Two, well served with grape and canister, silence his  
 musketry and clear his decks.
  [ begin page 75 ]ppp.00270.077.jpg 232The tops alone second the fire of this little battery,  
 especially the main-top;
They hold out bravely during the whole of the action.
233Not a moment's cease; The leaks again fast on the pumps—the fire eats toward  
 the powder-magazine.
234One of the pumps has been shot away—it is gene- 
 rally thought we are sinking.
235Serene 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-lan- 
236Toward twelve at night, there in the beams of the  
 moon, they surrender to us.


237Stretch'd and still lies the midnight; Two great hulls motionless on the breast of the dark- 
Our vessel riddled and slowly sinking—preparations to  
 pass to the one we have conquer'd;
The captain on the quarter-deck coldly giving his orders  
 through a countenance white as a sheet;
Near by, the corpse of the child that serv'd in the  
The dead face of an old salt with long white hair and  
 carefully curl'd whiskers;
The flames, spite of all that can be done, flickering  
 aloft and below;
The husky voices of the two or three officers yet fit for  
Formless stacks of bodies, and bodies by themselves—  
 dabs of flesh upon the masts and spars,
Cut of cordage, dangle of rigging, slight shock of the  
 soothe of waves,
  [ begin page 76 ]ppp.00270.078.jpg Black and impassive guns, litter of powder-parcels,  
 strong scent,
Delicate sniffs of sea-breeze, smells of sedgy grass and  
 fields by the shore, death-messages given in  
 charge to survivors,
The hiss of the surgeon's knife, the gnawing teeth of  
 his saw,
Wheeze, cluck, swash of falling blood, short wild  
 scream, and long, dull, tapering groan;
These so—these irretrievable.


238O Christ! This is mastering me! In at the conquer'd doors they crowd. I am possess'd. 239I embody all presences outlaw'd or suffering; See myself in prison shaped like another man, And feel the dull unintermitted pain. 240For me the keepers of convicts shoulder their car- 
 bines and keep watch;
It is I let out in the morning, and barr'd at night.
241Not a mutineer walks handcuff'd to jail, but I am  
 handcuff'd to him and walk by his side;
(I am less the jolly one there, and more the silent one,  
 with sweat on my twitching lips.)
242Not a youngster is taken for larceny, but I go up  
 too, and am tried and sentenced.
243Not a cholera patient lies at the last gasp, but I also  
 lie at the last gasp;
My face is ash-color'd—my sinews gnarl—away from me  
 people retreat.
244Askers embody themselves in me, and I am embo- 
 died in them;
I project my hat, sit shame-faced, and beg.
  [ begin page 77 ]uva_bb.00004.jpg 245Enough! enough! enough! Somehow I have been stunn'd, Stand back! Give me a little time beyond my cuff'd head, slumbers,  
 dreams, gaping;
I discover myself on the verge of a usual mistake.
246That I could forget the mockers and insults! That I could forget the trickling tears, and the blows  
 of the bludgeons and hammers!
That I could look with a separate look on my own cru- 
 cifixion and bloody crowning.
247I 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.
248I troop forth replenish'd with supreme power, one  
 of an average unending procession;
Inland and sea-coast we go, and we pass all boundary  
Our swift ordinances on their way over the whole  
The blossoms we wear in our hats the growth of thou- 
 sands of years.
249Eleves, I salute you! come forward! Continue your annotations, continue your questionings.


250The friendly and flowing savage, Who is he? Is he waiting for civilization, or past it, and master- 
 ing it?
251Is he some south-westerner, raised out-doors? Is he  
  [ begin page 78 ]ppp.00270.080.jpg Is he from the Mississippi country? Iowa, Oregon,  
 California? the mountains? prairie-life, bush-  
 life? or from the sea?
252Wherever he goes, men and women accept and de- 
 sire him;
They desire he should like them, touch them, speak to  
 them, stay with them.
253Behavior lawless as snow-flakes, words simple as  
 grass, uncomb'd head, laughter, and naivete,
Slow-stepping feet, common features, common modes  
They descend in new forms from the tips of his fingers; They are wafted with the odor of his body or breath—  
 they fly out of the glance of his eyes.


254Flaunt of the sunshine, I need not your bask,—lie  
You light surfaces only—I force surfaces and depths  
255Earth! you seem to look for something at my hands; Say, old Top-knot! what do you want? 256Man or woman! I might tell how I like you, but  
And might tell what it is in me, and what it is in you,  
 but cannot;
And might tell that pining I have—that pulse of my  
 nights and days.
257Behold! I do not give lectures, or a little charity; When I give, I give myself. 258You 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;   [ begin page 79 ]ppp.00270.081.jpg I am not to be denied—I compel—I have stores? plenty  
 and to spare;
And anything I have I bestow.
259I do not ask who you are—that is not so important  
 to me;
You can do nothing, and be nothing, but what I will  
 infold you.
260To 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. 261On women fit for conception I start bigger and  
 nimbler babes;
(This day I am jetting the stuff of far more arrogant  
262To 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.
263I seize the descending man, and raise him with re- 
 sistless will.
264O despairer, here is my neck; By God! you shall not go down! Hang your whole  
 weight upon me.
265I dilate you with tremendous breath—I buoy you  
Every room of the house do I fill with an arm'd force, Lovers of me, bafflers of graves.
266Sleep! I and they keep guard all night; Not doubt—not decease shall dare to lay finger upon  
I have embraced you, and henceforth possess you to  
  [ begin page 80 ]ppp.00270.082.jpg And when you rise in the mornng you will find what I  
 tell you is so.


267I am he bringing help for the sick as they pant on  
 their backs;
And for strong upright men I bring yet more needed  
268I 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? 269Magnifying 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  
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  
Admitting they were alive and did the work of their  
(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  
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;
  [ begin page 81 ]ppp.00270.083.jpg 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 destruc- 
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 in- 
 terceding 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  
The bull and the bug never worship'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:
By my life-lumps! becoming already a creator; Putting myself here and now to the ambush'd womb of  
 the shadows.


270A call in the midst of the crowd; My own voice, orotund, sweeping, and final. 271Come my children; Come my boys and girls, my women, household, and  
Now the performer launches his nerve—he has pass'd  
 his prelude on the reeds within.
272Easily written, loose-finger'd chords! I feel the thrum  
 of your climax and close.
  [ begin page 82 ]ppp.00270.084.jpg 273My head slues round on my neck; Music rolls, but not from the organ; Folks are around me, but they are no household of  
274Ever the hard, unsunk ground; Ever the eaters and drinkers—ever the upward and  
 downward sun—ever the air and the ceaseless  
Ever myself and my neighbors, refreshing, wicked, real; Ever the old inexplicable query—ever that thorn'd  
 thumb—that breath of itches and thirsts;
Ever the vexer's hoot! hoot! till we find where the sly  
 one hides, and bring him forth;
Ever love—ever the sobbing liquid of life; Ever the bandage under the chin—ever the tressels of  
275Here and there, with dimes on the eyes, walking; To feed the greed of the belly, the brains liberally  
Tickets buying, taking, selling, but in to the feast never  
 once going;
Many sweating, ploughing, thrashing, and then the chaff  
 for payment receiving;
A few idly owning, and they the wheat continually  
276This is the city, and I am one of the citizens; Whatever interests the rest interests me—politics, wars,  
 markets, newspapers, schools,
Benevolent societies, improvements, banks, tariffs,  
 steamships, factories, stocks, stores, real estate,  
 and personal estate.
277The little plentiful mannikins, skipping around in  
 collars and tail'd coats,
I am aware who they are—(they are positively not  
 worms or fleas.)
  [ begin page 83 ]ppp.00270.085.jpg 278I 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.
279I know perfectly well my own egotism; I know my omnivorous lines, and will not write any  
And would fetch you, whoever you are, flush with  
280No words of routine are mine, But abruptly to question, to leap beyond, yet nearer  
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  
In the houses, the dishes and fare and furniture—but  
 the host and hostess, and the look-out of their  
The sky up there—yet here, or next door, or across the  
The saints and sages in history—but you yourself? Sermons, creeds, theology—but the fathomless human  
And what is reason? and what is love? and what is life?


281I do not despise you, priests; My faith is the greatest of faiths, and the least of faiths, Enclosing worship ancient and modern, and all between  
 ancient and modern,
Believing I shall come again upon the earth after five  
 thousand years,
Waiting responses from oracles, honoring the Gods,  
 saluting the sun,
  [ begin page 84 ]ppp.00270.086.jpg Making a fetish of the first rock or stump, powwowing  
 with sticks in the circle of obis,
Helping the lama or brahmin as he trims the lamps of  
 the idols,
Dancing yet through the streets in a phallic proces- 
 sion—rapt and austere in the woods, a gymno- 
Drinking mead from the skull-cup—to Shastas and  
 Vedas admirant—minding the Koran,
Walking the teokallis, spotted with gore from the stone  
 and knife, beating the serpent-skin drum,
Accepting the Gospels—accepting him that was cruci- 
 fied, knowing assuredly that he is divine,
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.
282One of that centripetal and centrifugal gang, I turn  
 and talk, like a man leaving charges before a  
283Down-hearted doubters, dull and excluded, Frivolous, sullen, moping, angry, affected, dishearten'd,  
I know every one of you—I know the sea of torment,  
 doubt, despair and unbelief.
284How the flukes splash! How they contort, rapid as lightning, with spasms, and  
 spouts of blood!
285Be at peace, bloody flukes of doubters and sullen  
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.
  [ begin page 85 ]ppp.00270.087.jpg 286I do not know what is untried and afterward; But I know it will in its turn prove sufficient, and can- 
 not fail.
287Each who passes is consider'd—each who stops is  
 consider'd—not a single one can it fail.
288It cannot fail the young man who died and was  
Nor the young woman who died and was put by his  
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 anything in the earth, or down in the oldest graves  
 of the earth,
Nor anything in the myriads of spheres—nor one of  
 the myriads of myriads that inhabit them,
Nor the present—nor the least wisp that is known.


289It is time to explain myself—Let us stand up. 290What is known I strip away; I launch all men and women forward with me into THE  
291The clock indicates the moment—but what does eter- 
 nity indicate?
292We have thus far exhausted trillions of winters and  
There are trillions ahead, and trillions ahead of them.
  [ begin page 86 ]ppp.00270.088.jpg 293Births have brought us richness and variety, And other births will bring us richness and variety. 294I do not call one greater and one smaller; That which fills its period and place is equal to any. 295Were mankind murderous or jealous upon you, my  
 brother, my sister?
I am sorry for you—they are not murderous or jealous  
 upon me;
All has been gentle with me—I keep no account with  
(What have I to do with lamentation?)
296I am an acme of things accomplish'd, and I an en- 
 closer of things to be.
297My feet strike an apex of the apices of the stairs; On every step bunches of ages, and larger bunches be- 
 tween the steps;
All below duly travel'd, and still I mount and mount.
298Rise after rise bow the phantoms behind me; Afar down I see the huge first Nothing—I know I was  
 even there;
I waited unseen and always, and slept through the leth- 
 argic mist,
And took my time, and took no hurt from the fetid  
299Long I was hugg'd close—long and long. 300Immense have been the preparations for me, Faithful and friendly the arms that have help'd me. 301Cycles 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.
  [ begin page 87 ]ppp.00270.089.jpg 302Before I was born out of my mother, generations  
 guided me;
My embryo has never been torpid—nothing could over- 
 lay it.
303For 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.
304All forces have been steadily employ'd to complete  
 and delight me;
Now on this spot I stand with my robust Soul.


305O span of youth! Ever-push'd elasticity! O manhood, balanced, florid, and full. 306My lovers suffocate me! Crowding my lips, thick in the pores of my skin, Jostling me through streets and public halls—coming  
 naked to me at night,
Crying by day Ahoy! from the rocks of the river—  
 swinging and chirping over my head,
Calling my name from flower-beds, vines, tangled under- 
Lighting on every moment of my life, Bussing my body with soft balsamic busses, Noiselessly passing handfuls out of their hearts, and  
 giving them to be mine.
307Old age superbly rising! O welcome, ineffable grace  
 of dying days!
308Every condition promulges not only itself—it pro- 
 mulges what grows after and out of itself,
And the dark hush promulges as much as any.
309I open my scuttle at night and see the far-sprinkled  
  [ begin page 88 ]ppp.00270.090.jpg And all I see, multiplied as high as I can cipher, edge  
 but the rim of the farther systems.
310Winder and wider they spread, expanding, always ex- 
Outward and outward, and forever outward.
311My sun has his sun, and round him obediently  
He joins with his partners a group of superior circuit, And greater sets follow, making specks of the greatest  
 inside them.
312There 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 in the long run;
We should surely bring up again where we now stand, And as surely go as much farther—and then farther and  
313A few quadrillions of eras, a few octillions of cubic  
 leagues, do not hazard the span, or make it im- 
They are but parts—anything is but a part.
314See ever so far, there is limitless space outside of that; Count ever so much, there is limitless time around that. 315My rendezvous is appointed—it is certain; The Lord will be there, and wait till I come, on perfect  
(The great Camerado, the lover true for whom I pine,  
 will be there.)


316I know I have, the best of time and space, and was never measured, and never will be measured. 317I tramp a perpetual journey—(come listen all!) My signs are a rain-proof coat, good shoes, and a staff  
 cut from the woods;
  [ begin page 89 ]ppp.00270.091.jpg No friend of mine takes his ease in my chair; I have no chair, no church, no philosophy; I lead no man to a dinner-table, library, or exchange; But each man and each woman of you I lead upon a  
My left hand hooking you round the waist, My right hand pointing to landscapes of continents,  
 and a plain public road.
318Not I—not any one else, can travel that road for  
You must travel it for yourself.
319It is not far—it is within reach; Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and  
 did not know;
Perhaps it is every where on water and on land.
320Shoulder your duds, dear son, and I will mine, and  
 let us hasten forth,
Wonderful cities and free nations we shall fetch as  
 we go.
321If 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  
For after we start, we never lie by again.
322This 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  
  everything in them, shall we be fill'd and satisfied  
And my Spirit said, No, we but level that lift, to pass and  
  continue beyond.
323You are also asking me questions, and I hear you; I answer that I cannot answer—you must find out for  
  [ begin page 90 ]ppp.00270.092.jpg 324Sit 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-bye kiss, and open  
 the gate for your egress hence.
325Long 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.
326Long 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.


327I am the teacher of athletes; He that by me spreads a wider breast than my own,  
 proves the width of my own;
He most honors my style who learns under it to destroy  
 the teacher.
328The boy I love, the same becomes a man, not  
 through derived power, but in his own right,
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.
329I teach straying from me—yet who can stray from  
I follow you, whoever you are, from the present hour; My words itch at your ears till you understand them.
  [ begin page 91 ]ppp.00270.093.jpg 330I 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.
331I swear I will never again mention love or death in- 
 side 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.
332If you would understand me, go to the heights or  
The nearest gnat is an explanation, and a drop or mo- 
 tion of waves a key;
The maul, the oar, the hand-saw, second my words.
333No shutter'd room or school can commune with me, But roughs and little children better than they. 334The young mechanic is closest to me—he knows me  
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.
335The 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 the solemn night (it may be their last,) those that  
 know me, seek me.
336My 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;
  [ begin page 92 ]ppp.00270.094.jpg 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.


337I have said that the soul is not more than the body, And I have said that the body is not more than the soul; And nothing, not God, is greater to one than one's- 
 self is,
And whoever walks a furlong without sympathy, walks  
 to his own funeral, drest in his shroud,
And I or you, pocketless of a dime, may purchase the  
 pick of the earth,
And to glance with an eye, or show a bean in its pod,  
 confounds the learning of all times,
And there is no trade or employment but the young  
 man following it may become a hero,
And there is no object so soft but it makes a hub for the  
 wheel'd universe,
And I say to any man or woman, Let your soul stand  
 cool and composed before a million universes.
338And I say to mankind, Be not curious about God, For I, who am curious about each, am not curious about  
(No array of terms can say how much I am at peace about  
 God, and about death.)
339I hear and behold God in every object, yet under- 
 stand God not in the least,
Nor do I understand who there can be more wonderful  
 than myself.
340Why should I wish to see God better than this day? I see something of God each hour of the twenty-four,  
 and each moment then;
In the faces of men and women I see God, and in my  
 own face in the glass;
I find letters from God dropt in the street—and every  
 one is sign'd by God's name,
  [ begin page 93 ]ppp.00270.095.jpg And I leave them where they are, for I know that  
 wheresoe'er I go,
Others will punctually come forever and ever.


341And as to you Death, and you bitter hug of mortal- 
 ity, it is idle to try to alarm me.
342To his work without flinching the accoucheur comes; I see the elder-hand, pressing, receiving, supporting; I recline by the sills of the exquisite flexible doors, And mark the outlet, and mark the relief and escape. 343And as to you, Corpse, I think you are good manure  
 —but that does not offend me;
I smell the white roses sweet-scented and growing, I reach to the leafy lips—I reach to the polish'd breasts  
 of melons.
344And as to you Life, I reckon you are the leavings of  
 many deaths;
(No doubt I have died myself ten thousand times  
345I hear you whispering there, O stars of heaven; O suns! O grass of graves! O perpetual transfers and  
If you do not say anything, how can I say anything?
346Of the turbid pool that lies in the autumn forest, Of the moon that descends the steeps of the soughing  
Toss, sparkles of day and dusk! toss on the black stems  
 that decay in the muck!
Toss to the moaning gibberish of the dry limbs.
347I ascend from the moon, I ascend from the night; I perceive that the ghastly glimmer is noonday sunbeams  
And debouch to the steady and central from the offspring  
 great or small,
  [ begin page 94 ]ppp.00270.096.jpg


348There is that in me—I do not know what it is—but  
 I know it is in me.
349Wrench'd and sweaty—calm and cool then my body  
I sleep—I sleep long.
350I do not know it—it is without name—it is a word  
It is not in any dictionary, utterance, symbol.
351Something it swings on more than the earth I swing  
To it the creation is the friend whose embracing awakes  
352Perhaps I might tell more. Outlines! I plead for  
 my brothers and sisters.
353Do 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.


354The past and present wilt—I have fill'd them, emp- 
 tied them,
And proceed to fill my next fold of the future.
355Listener up there! Here, you! What have you to  
 confide to me?
Look in my face, while I snuff the sidle of evening; Talk honestly—no one else hears you, and I stay only a  
 minute longer.
356Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself; (I am large—I contain multitudes.) 357I concentrate toward them that are nigh—I wait on  
 the door-slab.
  [ begin page 95 ]ppp.00270.097.jpg 358Who has done his day's work? Who will soonest be  
 through with his supper?
Who wishes to walk with me?
359Will you speak before I am gone? Will you prove  
 already too late?


360The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me—he  
 complains of my gab and my loitering.
361I too am not a bit tamed—I too am untranslatable; I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world. 362The last scud of day holds back for me; It flings my likeness after the rest, and true as any, on  
 the shadow'd wilds;
It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.
363I depart as air—I shake my white locks at the run- 
 away sun;
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.
364I bequeath myself to the dirt, to grow from the  
 grass I love;
If you want me again, look for me under your boot- 
365You 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. 366Failing to fetch me at first, keep encouraged; Missing me one place, search another; I stop somewhere waiting for you.
  [ begin page 96 ]ppp.00270.098.jpg


1LAWS for Creations, For strong artists and leaders—for fresh broods of  
 teachers, and perfect literats for America,
For noble savans, and coming musicians.
2All must have reference to the ensemble of the world,  
 and the compact truth of the world;
There shall be no subject too pronounced—All works  
 shall illustrate the divine law of indirections.
3What do you suppose Creation is? What do you suppose will satisfy the Soul, except to  
 walk free, and own no superior?
What do you suppose I would intimate to you in a hun- 
 dred ways, but that man or woman is as good as  
And that there is no God any more divine than Your- 
And that that is what the oldest and newest myths  
 finally mean?
Aud that you or any one must approach Creations  
 through such laws?


A MASK—a perpetual natural disguiser of herself, Concealing her face, concealing her form, Changes and transformations every hour, every mo- 
Falling upon her even when she sleeps.



TO THE garden, the world, anew ascending, Potent mates, daughters, sons, preluding, The love, the life of their bodies, meaning and being, Curious, here behold my resurrection, after slumber; The revolving cycles, in their wide sweep, having brought  
 me again,
Amorous, mature—all beautiful to me—all wondrous; My limbs, and the quivering fire that ever plays through  
 them, for reasons, most wondrous;
Existing, I peer and penetrate still, Content with the present—content with the past, By my side, or back of me, Eve following, Or in front, and I following her just the same.


FROM pent-up, aching rivers; From that of myself, without which I were nothing; From what I am determin'd to make illustrious, even  
 if I stand sole among men;
From my own voice resonant—singing the phallus, Singing the song of procreation,   [ begin page 98 ]ppp.00270.100.jpg Singing the need of superb children, and therein superb  
 grown people,
Singing the muscular urge and the blending, Singing the bedfellow's song, (O resistless yearning! O for any and each, the body correlative attracting! 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  
From native moments—from bashful pains—singing  
Singing something yet unfound, though I have dili- 
 gently sought it, many a long year;
Singing the true song of the Soul, fitful, at random; Singing what, to the Soul, entirely redeem'd her, the  
 faithful one, even the prostitute, who detain'd  
 me when I went to the city;
Singing the song of prostitutes; Renascent with grossest Nature, or among animals; Of that—of them, and what goes with them, my poems  
Of the smell of apples and lemons—of the pairing of  
Of the wet of woods—of the lapping of waves, Of the mad pushes of waves upon the land—I them  
The overture lightly sounding—the strain anticipat- 
The welcome nearness—the sight of the perfect body; The swimmer swimming naked in the bath, or motion- 
 less 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, mak- 
The face—the limbs—the index from head to foot, and  
 what it arouses;
The mystic deliria—the madness amorous—the utter  
(Hark close, and still, what I now whisper to you, I love you—O you entirely possess me,   [ begin page 99 ]ppp.00270.101.jpg O I wish that you and I escape from the rest, and go  
 utterly off—O 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 passion- 
 ately 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  
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; (To talk to the perfect girl who understands me, To waft to her these from my own lips—to effuse them  
 from my own body;)
From privacy—from frequent repinings alone; From plenty of persons near, and yet the right person  
 not near;
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  
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 bedfel- 
 low'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 coverlid off-throwing,   [ begin page 100 ]ppp.00270.102.jpg 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  
And you, stalwart loins.



1I SING the Body electric; The armies of those I love engirth me, and I engirth  
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to  
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the  
 charge of the Soul.
2Was it doubted that those who corrupt their own  
 bodies conceal themselves?
And if those who defile the living are as bad as they  
 who defile the dead?
And if the body does not do as much as the Soul? And if the body were not the Soul, what is the Soul?


3The love of the Body of man or woman balks ac- 
 count—the body itself balks account;
That of the male is perfect, and that of the female is  
4The expression of the face balks account;   [ begin page 101 ]ppp.00270.103.jpg But the expression of a well-made man appears not  
 only in his face;
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, supple quality he has, strikes through  
 the cotton and flannel;
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.
5The 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 fro  
 in the heave of the water,
The bending forward and backward of rowers in row- 
 boats—the horseman 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 hoeing corn—the sleigh-driver guiding  
 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 sun-down, 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 trow- 
 sers and waist-straps,
  [ begin page 102 ]ppp.00270.104.jpg The slow return from the fire, the pause when the bell  
 strikes suddenly again, and the listening on the  
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, and  


6I knew a man, a common farmer—the father of five  
And in them were the fathers of sons—and in them  
 were the fathers of sons.
7This man was of wonderful vigor, calmness, beauty of  
The shape of his head, the pale yellow and white of his  
 hair and beard, and the immeasurable meaning of  
 his black eyes—the richness and breadth of his  
These I used to go and visit him to see—he was wise  
He was six feet tall, he was over eighty years old—his  
 sons were massive, clean, bearded, tan-faced,  
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,
  [ begin page 103 ]ppp.00270.105.jpg 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.


8I have perceiv'd that to be with those I like is enough, To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough, To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing,  
 laughing flesh is enough,
To pass among them, or touch any one, or rest my arm  
 ever so lightly round his or her neck for a mo- 
 ment—what is this, then?
I do not ask any more delight—I swim in it, as in a sea.
9There is something in staying close to men and women,  
 and looking on them, and in the contact and  
 odor of them, that pleases the soul well;
All things please the soul—but these please the soul  


10This is the female form; A divine nimbus exhales from it from head to foot; It attracts with fierce undeniable attraction! I am drawn by its breath as if I were no more than a  
 helpless vapor—all falls aside but myself and it;
Books, art, religion, time, the visible and solid earth,  
 the atmosphere and the clouds, and what was  
 expected of heaven or fear'd of hell, are now  
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, quiver- 
 ing jelly of love, white-blow and delirious juice;
Bridegroom night of love, working surely and softly  
 into the prostrate dawn;
  [ begin page 104 ]ppp.00270.106.jpg Undulating into the willing and yielding day, Lost in the cleave of the clasping and sweet-flesh'd day.
11This is the nucleus—after the child is born of woman,  
 the man is born of woman;
This is the bath of birth—this is the merge of small  
 and large, and the outlet again.
12Be 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.
13The female contains all qualities, and tempers them  
 —she is in her place, and moves with perfect  
She is all things duly veil'd—she is both passive and  
She is to conceive daughters as well as sons, and sons  
 as well as daughters.
14As I see my soul reflected in nature; As I see through a mist, one with inexpressible com- 
 pleteness and beauty,
See the bent head, and arms folded over the breast—  
 the female I see.


15The male is not less the soul, nor more—he too is in  
 his place;
He too is all qualities—he is action and power; The flush of the known universe is in him; Scorn becomes him well, and appetite and defiance be- 
 come him well:
The wildest largest passions, bliss that is utmost, sor- 
 row that is utmost, become him well—pride is  
 for him;
The full-spread pride of man is calming and excellent  
 to the soul;
Knowledge becomes him—he likes it always—he brings  
 everything to the test of himself;
  [ begin page 105 ]ppp.00270.107.jpg Whatever the survey, whatever the sea and the sail, he  
 strikes soundings at last only here;
(Where else does he strike soundings, except here?)
16The man's body is sacred, and the woman's body is  
No matter who it is, it is sacred; Is it a slave? 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.
17(All is a procession; The universe is a procession, with measured and beau- 
 tiful motion.)
18Do you know so much yourself, that you call the slave  
 or the dull-face 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 dif- 
 fuse float—and the soil is on the surface, and  
 water runs, and vegetation sprouts,
For you only, and not for him and her?


19A man's Body at auction; I help the auctioneer—the sloven does not half know  
 his business.
20Gentlemen, look on this wonder! Whatever the bids of the bidders, they cannot be high  
 enough for it;
For it the globe lay preparing quintillions of years,  
 without one animal or plant;
For it the revolving cycles truly and steadily roll'd.
21In this head the all-baffling brain; In it and below it, the makings of heroes.   [ begin page 106 ]ppp.00270.108.jpg 22Examine these limbs, red, black, or white—they are  
 so cunning in tendon and nerve;
They shall be stript, that you may see them.
23Exquisite senses, life-lit eyes, pluck, volition, Flakes of breast-muscle, pliant back-bone and neck, flesh  
 not flabby, good-sized arms and legs,
And wonders within there yet.
24Within there runs blood, The same old blood! The same red-running blood! There swells and jets a heart—there all passions, de- 
 sires, reachings, aspirations;
Do you think they are not there because they are not  
 express'd in parlors and lecture-rooms?
25This is not only one man—this is 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 embod- 
 iments and enjoyments.
26How 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?


27A woman's Body at auction! She too is not only herself—she is the teeming mother  
 of mothers;
She is the bearer of them that shall grow and be mates  
 to the mothers.
28Have you ever loved the Body of a woman? Have you ever loved the Body of a man? Your father—where is your father? Your mother—is she living? have you been much with  
 her? and has she been much with you?
  [ begin page 107 ]ppp.00270.109.jpg —Do you not see that these are exactly the same to all,  
 in all nations and times, all over the earth?
29If any thing is sacred, the human body is sacred, And the glory and sweet of a man is the token of man- 
 hood untainted;
And in man or woman, a clean, strong, firm-fibred body,  
 is beautiful as the most beautiful face.
30Have you seen the fool that corrupted his own live  
 body? or the fool that corrupted her own live body?
For they do not conceal themselves, and cannot conceal  


31O my Body! I dare not desert the likes of you in  
 other men and women, nor the likes of the parts  
 of you;
I believe the likes of you are to stand or fall with the  
 likes of the Soul, (and that they are the Soul;)
I believe the likes of you shall stand or fall with my  
 poems—and that they are poems,
Man's, woman's, child's, youth's, wife's, husband's,  
 mother's, father's, young man's, young woman's  
Head, neck, hair, ears, drop and tympan of the ears, Eyes, eye-fringes, iris of the eye, eye-brows, 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, arm-pit, elbow-socket, lower-arm, arm- 
 sinews, arm-bones,
Wrist and wrist-joints, hand, palm, knuckles, thumb,  
 fore-finger, finger-balls, finger-joints, finger-nails,
Broad breast-front, curling hair of the breast, breast- 
 bone, breast-side,
  [ begin page 108 ]ppp.00270.110.jpg Ribs, belly, back-bone, joints of the back-bone, 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  
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, ma- 
Womanhood, and all that is a woman—and the man  
 that comes from woman,
The womb, the teats, nipples, breast-milk, tears, laugh- 
 ter, weeping, love-looks, love-perturbations and  
The voice, articulation, language, whispering, shouting  
Food, drink, pulse, digestion, sweat, sleep, walking,  
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 sun burnt 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, 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!
  [ begin page 109 ]ppp.00270.111.jpg


1A WOMAN waits for me—she contains all, nothing is  
Yet all were lacking, if sex were lacking, or if the mois- 
 ture of the right man were lacking.
2Sex contains all, Bodies, Souls, meanings, proofs, purities, delicacies, re- 
 sults, promulgations,
Songs, commands, health, pride, the maternal mystery,  
 the seminal milk;
All hopes, benefactions, bestowals, All the passions, loves, beauties, delights of the earth, All the governments, judges, gods, follow'd persons of  
 the earth,
These are contain'd in sex, as parts of itself, and justi- 
 fications of itself.
3Without shame the man I like knows and avows the  
 deliciousness of his sex,
Without shame the woman I like knows and avows hers.
4Now I will dismiss myself from impassive women, I will go stay with her who waits for me, and with those  
 women that are warm-blooded and sufficient for  
I see that they understand me, and do not deny me; I see that they are worthy of me—I will be the robust  
 husband of those women.
5They are not one jot less than I am, They are tann'd in the face by shining suns and blow- 
 ing winds,
Their flesh has the old divine suppleness and strength, They know how to swim, row, ride, wrestle, shoot, run,  
 strike, retreat, advance, resist, defend them- 
  [ begin page 110 ]ppp.00270.112.jpg They are ultimate in their own right—they are calm,  
 clear, well-possess'd of themselves.
6I 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.
7It 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.
8Through 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  
The drops I distil upon you shall grow fierce and ath- 
 letic girls, new artists, musicians, and singers,
The babes I beget upon you are to beget babes in their  
I shall demand perfect men and women out of my love- 
I shall expect them to interpenetrate with others as I  
 and you interpenetrate 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.
  [ begin page 111 ]ppp.00270.113.jpg


SPONTANEOUS me, Nature, The loving day, the mounting sun, the friend I am  
 happy with,
The arm of my friend hanging idly over my shoulder, The hill-side whiten'd with blossoms of the mountain  
The same, late in autumn—the hues of red, yellow,  
 drab, purple, and light and dark green,
The rich coverlid of the grass—animals and birds—  
 the private untrimm'd bank—the primitive ap- 
 ples—the pebble-stones,
Beautiful dripping fragments—the negligent list of one  
 after another, as I happen to call them to me, or  
 think of them,
The real poems, (what we call poems being merely pic- 
The poems of the privacy of the night, and of men like  
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  
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,
  [ begin page 112 ]ppp.00270.114.jpg 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 con- 
 fides 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  
The curious roamer, the hand, roaming all over the  
 body—the bashful withdrawing of flesh where  
 the fingers soothingly pause and edge them- 
The limpid liquid within the young man, The vexed 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  
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  
The mystic amorous night—the strange half-welcome  
 pangs, visions, sweats,
The pulse pounding through palms and trembling en- 
 circling fingers—the young man all color'd, red,  
 ashamed, angry;
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,
  [ begin page 113 ]ppp.00270.115.jpg 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.


1ONE hour to madness and joy! O furious! O confine me not! (What is this that frees me so in storms? What do my shouts amid lightnings and raging winds  
2O to drink the mystic deliria deeper than any other  
O savage and tender achings! (I bequeath them to you, my children, I tell them to you, for reasons, O bridegroom and bride.)
3O to be yielded to you, whoever you are, and you to  
 be yielded to me, in defiance of the world!
O to return to Paradise! O bashful and feminine! O to draw you to me—to plant on you for the first time  
 the lips of a determin'd man!
  [ begin page 114 ]ppp.00270.116.jpg 4O the puzzle—the thrice-tied knot—the deep and dark  
 pool! O all untied and illumin'd!
O to speed where there is space enough and air enough  
 at last!
O to be absolv'd from previous ties and conventions—I  
 from mine, and you from yours!
O to find a new unthought-of nonchalance with the best  
 of nature?
O to have the gag remov'd from one's mouth! O to have the feeling, to-day or any day, I am sufficient  
 as I am!
5O something unprov'd! something in a trance! O madness amorous! O trembling! O to escape utterly from others' anchors and holds! To drive free! to love free! to dash reckless and dan- 
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.


WE two—how long we were fool'd! Now transmuted, we swiftly escape, as Nature escapes; We are Nature—long have we been absent, but now we  
We become plants, leaves, foliage, roots, bark; We are bedded in the ground—we are rocks; We are oaks—we grow in the openings side by side; We browse—we are two among the wild herds, spon- 
 taneous as any;
  [ begin page 115 ]ppp.00270.117.jpg We are two fishes swimming in the sea together; We are what the locust blossoms are—we drop scent  
 around the lanes, mornings and evenings;
We are also the coarse smut of beasts, vegetables,  
We are two predatory hawks—we soar above, and look  
We are two resplendent suns—we it is who balance  
 ourselves, orbic and stellar—we are as two  
We prowl fang'd and four-footed in the woods—we  
 spring on prey;
We are two clouds, forenoons and afternoons, driving  
We are seas mingling—we are two of those cheerful  
 waves, rolling over each other, and interwetting  
 each other;
We are what the atmosphere is, transparent, receptive,  
 pervious, impervious:
We are snow, rain, cold, darkness—we are each product  
 and influence of the globe;
We have circled and circled till we have arrived home  
 again—we two have;
We have voided all but freedom, and all but our own  



OUT of the rolling ocean, the crowd, came a drop gently  
 to me,
Whispering, I love you, before long I die, I have travelled a long way, merely to look on you, to touch  
For I could not die till I once look'd on you, For I fear'd I might afterwards lose you.
  [ begin page 116 ]ppp.00270.118.jpg


(Now we have met, we have look'd, we are safe; Return in peace to the ocean, my love; I too am part of that ocean, my love—we are not so  
 much separated;
Behold the great rondure—the cohesion of all, how per- 
But as for me, for you, the irresistible sea is to separate  
As for an hour, carrying us diverse—yet cannot carry  
 us diverse for ever;
Be not impatient—a little space—Know you, I salute  
 the air, the ocean, and the land,
Every day, at sundown, for your dear sake, my love.)


NATIVE moments! when you come upon me—Ah you  
 are here now!
Give me now libidinous joys only! Give me the drench of my passions! Give me life  
 coarse and rank!
To-day, I go consort with nature's darlings—to-night  
I am for those who believe in loose delights—I share  
 the midnight orgies of young men;
I dance with the dancers, and drink with the drinkers; The echoes ring with our indecent calls; I take for my love some prostitute—I pick out some low  
 person for my dearest friend,
He shall be lawless, rude, illiterate—he shall be one  
 condemn'd by others for deeds done;
I will play a part no longer—Why should I exile myself  
 from my companions?
O you shunn'd persons! I at least do not shun you, I come forthwith in your midst—I will be your poet, I will be more to you than to any of the rest.
  [ begin page 117 ]ppp.00270.119.jpg


ONCE I pass'd through a populous city, imprinting my  
 brain, for future use, with its shows, architec- 
 ture, customs, and traditions;
Yet now, of all that city, I remember only a woman I  
 casually met there, who detained me for love of  
Day by day and night by night we were together,—All  
 else has long been forgotten by me;
I remember, I say, only that woman who passionately  
 clung to me;
Again we wander—we love—we separate again; Again she holds me by the hand—I must not go! I see her close beside me, with silent lips, sad and tremu- 


FACING west, from California's shores, Inquiring, tireless, seeking what is yet unfound, I, a child, very old, over waves, towards the house of  
 maternity, the land of migrations, look afar,
Look off the shores of my Western Sea—the circle  
 almost circled;
For, starting westward from Hindustan, from the vales  
 of Kashmere,
From. Asia—from the north—from the God, the sage,  
 and the hero,
From the south—from the flowery peninsulas, and the  
 spice islands;
Long having wander'd since—round the earth having  
Now I face home again—very pleas'd and joyous; (But where is what I started for, so long ago? And why is it yet unfound?)
  [ begin page 118 ]ppp.00270.120.jpg


AGES and ages, returning at intervals, Undestroy'd, wandering immortal, Lusty, phallic, with the potent original loins, perfectly  
I, chanter of Adamic songs, Through the new garden, the West, the great cities  
Deliriate, thus prelude what is generated, offering these,  
 offering myself,
Bathing myself, bathing my songs in Sex, Offspring of my loins.


O HYMEN! O hymenee! Why do you tantalize me thus? O why sting me for a swift moment only? Why can you not continue? O why do you now cease? Is it because, if you continued beyond the swift mo- 
 ment, you would soon certainly kill me?


AS Adam, early in the morning, Walking forth from the bower, refresh'd with sleep? Behold me where I pass—hear my voice—approach, Touch me—touch the palm of your hand to my Body  
 as I pass;
Be not afraid of my Body.
  [ begin page 119 ]ppp.00270.121.jpg

I Heard You, Solemn-sweet Pipes of the Organ.

I HEARD you, solemn-sweet pipes of the organ, as last  
 Sunday morn I pass'd the church;
Winds of autumn!—as I walk'd the woods at dusk, I  
 heard your long-stretch'd sighs, up above, so  
I heard the perfect Italian tenor, singing at the opera  
 —I heard the soprano in the midst of the quartet  
…Heart of my love!—you too I heard, murmuring  
 low, through one of the wrists around my head;
Heard the pulse of you, when all was still, ringing little  
 bells last night under my ear.


I AM he that aches with amorous love; Does the earth gravitate? Does not all matter, aching,  
 attract all matter?
So the Body of me, to all I meet, or know.
  [ begin page 120 ]ppp.00270.122.jpg


MY spirit to yours, dear brother; Do not mind because many, sounding your name, do  
 not understand you;
I do not sound your name, but I understand you, (there  
 are others also;)
I specify you with joy, O my comrade, to salute you,  
 and to salute those who are with you, before and  
 since—and those to come also,
That we all labor together, transmitting the same  
 charge and succession;
We few, equals, indifferent of lands, indifferent of  
We, enclosers of all continents, all castes—allowers of  
 all theologies,
Compassionaters, perceivers, rapport of men, We walk silent among disputes and assertions, but  
 reject not the disputers, nor any thing that is  
We hear the bawling and din—we are reached at by  
 divisions, jealousies, recriminations on every  
They close peremptorily upon us, to surround us, my  
Yet we walk unheld, free, the whole earth over, jour- 
 neying up and down, till we make our inefface- 
 able mark upon time and the diverse eras,
Till we saturate time and eras, that the men and wo- 
 men of races, ages to come, may prove brethren  
 and lovers, as we are.


ONLY themselves understand themselves, and the like of  
As Souls only understand Souls,



IN paths untrodden, In the growth by margins of pond-waters, Escaped from the life that exhibits itself, From all the standards hitherto publish'd—from the  
 pleasures, profits, eruditions, conformities,
Which too long I was offering to feed my soul; Clear to me, now, standards not yet publish'd—clear to  
 me that my Soul,
That the Soul of the man I speak for, feeds, rejoices  
 most in comrades;
Here, by myself, away from the clank of the world, Tallying and talk'd to here by tongues aromatic, No longer abash'd—for in this secluded spot I can re- 
 spond 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  
Projecting them along that substantial life, Bequeathing, hence, types of athletic love, Afternoon, this delicious Ninth-month, in my forty-first  
I proceed, for all who are, or have been, young men, To tell the secret of my nights and days, To celebrate the need of comrades.
  [ begin page 122 ]ppp.00270.124.jpg


SCENTED herbage of my breast, Leaves from you I yield, I write, to be perused best  
Tomb-leaves, body-leaves, growing up above me, above  
Perennial roots, tall leaves—O the winter shall not  
 freeze you, delicate leaves,
Every year shall you bloom again—Out from where you  
 retired, you shall emerge again;
O I do not know whether many, passing by, will dis- 
 cover you, or inhale your faint odor—but I be- 
 lieve a few will;
O slender leaves! O blossoms of my blood! I permit  
 you to tell, in your own way, of the heart that  
 is under you;
O burning and throbbing—surely all will one day be  
O I do not know what you mean, there underneath  
 yourselves—you are not happiness,
You are often more bitter than I can bear—you burn  
 and sting me,
Yet you are very beautiful to me, you faint-tinged  
 roots—you make me think of Death,
Death is beautiful from you—(what indeed is finally  
 beautiful, except Death and Love?)
—O I think it is not for life I am chanting here my  
 chant of lovers—I think it must be for Death,
For how calm, how solemn it grows, to ascend to the  
 atmosphere of lovers,
Death or life, I am then indifferent—my Soul declines  
 to prefer,
I am not sure but the high Soul of lovers welcomes  
 death most;
Indeed, O Death, I think now these leaves mean pre- 
 cisely the same as you mean;
Grow up taller, sweet leaves, that I may see! grow up  
 out of my breast!
  [ begin page 123 ]ppp.00270.125.jpgSpring away from the conceal'd heart there! Do not fold yourself so in your pink-tinged roots, timid  
Do not remain down there so ashamed, herbage of my  
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;
Away! I will say what I have to say, by itself, I will escape from the sham that was proposed to me, 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  
Give me your tone therefore, O Death, that I may ac- 
 cord 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  
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  
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  
That may-be you are what it is all for—but it does not  
 last so very long;
But you will last very long.
  [ begin page 124 ]ppp.00270.126.jpg

Whoever you are, Holding me now in Hand.

1WHOEVER you are, holding me now in hand, Without one thing, all will be useless; I give you fair warning, before you attempt me further, I am not what you supposed, but far different. 2Who is he that would become my follower? Who would sign himself a candidate for my affections? 3The way is suspicious—the result uncertain, perhaps  
You would have to give up all else—I alone would ex- 
 pect to be your God, sole and exclusive,
Your novitiate would even then be long and exhausting, The whole past theory of your life, and all conformity  
 to the lives around you, would have to be aban- 
Therefore release me now, before troubling yourself any  
 further—Let go your hand from my shoulders,
Put me down, and depart on your way.
4Or 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 watch- 
 ing lest any person, for miles around, approach  
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 hus- 
 band's kiss,
For I am the new husband, and I am the comrade.
5Or, if you will, thrusting me beneath your clothing,   [ begin page 125 ]ppp.00270.127.jpg 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.
6But 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—l  
 will certainly elude you,
Even while you should think you had unquestionably  
 caught me, behold!
Already you see I have escaped from you.
7For 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 vaunt- 
 ingly 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.


THESE, I, singing in spring, collect for lovers, (For who but I should understand lovers, and all their  
 sorrow and joy?
And who but I should be the poet of comrades?) Collecting, I traverse the garden, the world—but soon  
 I pass the gates,
  [ begin page 126 ]ppp.00270.128.jpg Now along the pond-side—now wading in a little, fear- 
 ing not the wet,
Now by the post-and-rail fences, where the old stones  
 thrown there, pick'd from the fields, have accu- 
(Wild-flowers and vines and weeds come up through  
 the stones, and partly cover them—Beyond these  
 I pass,)
Far, far in the forest, before I think where I go, Solitary, smelling the earthy smell, stopping now and  
 then in the silence,
Alone I had thought—yet soon a troop gathers around  
Some walk by my side, and some behind, and some em- 
 brace my arms or neck,
They, the spirits of dear friends, dead or alive—thicker  
 they come, a great crowd, and I in the middle,
Collecting, dispensing, singing in spring, there I wander  
 with them,
Plucking something for tokens—tossing toward whoever  
 is near me;
Here! lilac, with a branch of pine, 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  
And here what I now draw from the water, wading in  
 the pond-side,
(O here I last saw him that tenderly loves me—and re- 
 turns again, never to separate from me,
And this, O this shall henceforth be the token of com- 
 rades—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  
And stems of currants, and plum-blows, and the aro- 
 matic 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,
  [ begin page 127 ]ppp.00270.129.jpg Indicating to each one what he shall have—giving some- 
 thing 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 my- 
 self am capable of loving.



COME, I will make the continent indissoluble; I will make the most splendid race the sun ever yet  
 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, In the love of comrades, In the high-towering love of comrades.
  [ begin page 128 ]ppp.00270.130.jpg


NOT heaving from my ribb'd breast only; Not in sighs at night, in rage, dissatisfied with myself; Not in those long-drawn, ill-supprest sighs; Not in many an oath and promise broken; Not in my wilful and savage soul's volition; Not in the subtle nourishment of the air; Not in this beating and pounding at my temples and  
Not in the curious systole and diastole within, which  
 will one day cease;
Not in many a hungry wish, told to the skies only; Not in cries, laughter, defiances, thrown from me when  
 alone, far in the wilds;
Not in husky pantings through clench'd teeth; Not in sounded and resounded words—chattering words,  
 echoes, dead words;
Not in the murmurs of my dreams while I sleep, Nor the other murmurs of these incredible dreams of  
 every day;
Nor in the limbs and senses of my body, that take you  
 and dismiss you continually—Not there;
Not in any or all of them, O adhesiveness! O pulse of  
 my life!
Need I that you exist and show yourself, any more than  
 in these songs.


OF the terrible doubt of appearances, Of the uncertainty after all—that we may be deluded, That may-be reliance and hope are but speculations  
 after all,
That may-be identity beyond the grave is a beautiful  
 fable only,
  [ begin page 129 ]ppp.00270.131.jpg May-be the things I perceive—the animals, plants, men,  
 hills, shining and flowing waters,
The skies of day and night—colors, densities, forms—  
 May-be these are, (as doubtless they are,) only  
 apparitions, and the real something has yet to be  
(How often they dart out of themselves, as if to con- 
 found me and mock me!
How often I think neither I know, nor any man knows,  
 aught of them;)
May-be seeming to me what they are, (as doubtless they  
 indeed but seem,) as from my present point of  
 view—And might prove, (as of course they  
 would,) naught of what they appear, or naught  
 any how, from entirely changed points of view;
—To me, these, and the like of these, are curiously an- 
 swer'd by my lovers, my dear friends;
When he whom I love travels with me, or sits a long  
 while holding me by the hand,
When the subtle air, the impalpable, the sense that  
 words and reason hold not, surround us and  
 pervade us,
Then I am charged with untold and untellable wisdom  
 —I am silent—I require nothing further,
I cannot answer the question of appearances, or that  
 of identity beyond the grave;
But I walk or sit indifferent—I am satisfied, He ahold of my hand has completely satisfied me.

The Base of all Metaphysics.

1AND now, gentlemen, A word I give to remain in your memories and minds, As base, and finale too, for all metaphysics. 2(So, to the students, the old professor, At the close of his crowded course.)   [ begin page 130 ]ppp.00270.132.jpg 3Having studied the new and antique, the Greek and  
 Germanic systems,
Kant having studied and stated—Fichte and Schelling  
 and Hegel,
Stated the lore of Plato—and Socrates, greater than  
And greater than Socrates sought and stated—Christ  
 divine having studied long,
I see reminiscent to-day those Greek and Germanic  
See the philosophies all—Christian churches and tenets  
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  
Of city for city, and land for land.


RECORDERS ages hence! Come, I will take you down underneath this impassive  
 exterior—I will tell you what to say of me;
Publish my name and hang up my picture as that of  
 the tenderest lover,
The friend, the lover's portrait, of whom his friend, his  
 lover, was fondest,
Who was not proud of his songs, but of the measure- 
 less ocean of love within him—and freely pour'd  
 it forth,
Who often walk'd lonesome walks, thinking of his dear  
 friends, his lovers,
Who pensive, away from one he lov'd, often lay sleep- 
 less and dissatisfied at night,
  [ begin page 131 ]ppp.00270.133.jpg Who knew too well the sick, sick dread lest the one he  
 lov'd might secretly be indifferent to him,
Whose happiest days were far away, through fields, in  
 woods, on hills, he and another, wandering hand  
 in hand, they twain, apart from other men,
Who oft as he saunter'd the streets, curv'd with his  
 arm the shoulder of his friend—while the arm  
 of his friend rested upon him also.


WHEN I heard at the close of the day how my name  
 had been receiv'd with plaudits in the capitol,  
 still it was not a happy night for me that fol- 
And else, when I carous'd, or when my plans were  
 accomplish'd, still I was not happy;
But the day when I rose at dawn from the bed of per- 
 fect 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 undress- 
 ing, 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,
  [ begin page 132 ]ppp.00270.134.jpg 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.

Are You the New Person drawn toward Me?

ARE you the new person drawn toward me? To begin with, take warning—I am surely far different  
 from what you suppose;
Do you suppose you will find in me your ideal? Do you think it so easy to have me become your lover? Do you think the friendship of me would be unalloy'd  
Do you think I am trusty and faithful? Do you see no further than this facade—this smooth  
 and tolerant manner of me?
Do you suppose yourself advancing on real ground to- 
 ward a real heroic man?
Have you no thought, O dreamer, that it may be all  
 maya, illusion?

Roots and Leaves Themselves Alone.

ROOTS and leaves themselves alone are these; Scents brought to men and women from the wild woods,  
 and from the pond-side,
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 sum is risen;
  [ begin page 133 ]ppp.00270.135.jpg Breezes of land and love—breezes set from living  
 shores out to you on the living sea—to you, O  
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  
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.

Not Heat Flames up and Consumes.

NOT heat flames up and consumes, Not sea-waves hurry in and out, Not the air, delicious and dry, the air of the ripe sum- 
 mer, bears lightly along white down-balls of  
 myriads of seeds,
Wafted, sailing gracefully, to drop where they may; Not these—O none of these, more than the flames of  
 me, consuming, burning for his love whom I love!
O none, more than I, hurrying in and out; —Does the tide hurry, seeking something, and never  
 give up? O I the same;
O nor down-balls, nor perfumes, nor the high, rain- 
 emitting clouds, are borne through the open air,
Any more than my Soul is borne through the open  
Wafted in all directions, O love, for friendship, for  
  [ begin page 134 ]ppp.00270.136.jpg

Trickle, Drops.

TRICKLE, drops! my blue veins leaving! O drops of me! trickle, slow drops, Candid, from me falling—drip, bleeding drops, From wounds made to free you whence you were  
From my face—from my forehead and lips, From my breast—from within where I was conceal'd—  
 press forth, red drops—confession drops;
Stain every page—stain every song I sing, every word  
 I say, bloody drops;
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  
Let it all be seen in your light, blushing drops.

City of Orgies.

CITY of orgies, walks and joys! City whom that I have lived and sung in your midst  
 will one day make you illustrious,
Not the pageants of you—not your shifting tableaux,  
 your spectacles, repay me;
Not the interminable rows of your houses—nor the  
 ships at the wharves,
Nor the processions in the streets, nor the bright win- 
 dows, with goods in them;
Nor to converse with learn'd persons, or bear my share  
 in the soiree or feast;
Not those—but, as I pass, O Manhattan! your frequent  
 and swift flash of eyes offering me love,
Offering response to my own—these repay me; Lovers, continual lovers, only repay me.
  [ begin page 135 ]ppp.00270.137.jpg

Behold this Swarthy Face.

BEHOLD this swarthy face—these gray eyes, This beard—the white wool, unclipt upon my neck, My brown hands, and the silent manner of me, without  
Yet comes one, a Manhattanese, and ever at parting,  
 kisses me lightly on the lips with robust love,
And I, on the crossing of the street, or on the ship's  
 deck, give a kiss in return;
We observe that salute of American comrades, land and  
We are those two natural and nonchalant persons.

I saw in Louisiana a Live-Oak Growing.

I SAW in Louisiana a live-oak growing, All alone stood it, and the moss hung down from the  
Without any companion it grew there, uttering joyous  
 leaves of dark green,
And its look, rude, unbending, lusty, made me think of  
But I wonder'd how it could utter joyous leaves, stand- 
 ing alone there, without its friend, its lover near  
 —for I knew I could not;
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 flat space,
Uttering, joyous leaves all its life, without a friend, a  
 lover, near,
I know very well I could not.
  [ begin page 136 ]ppp.00270.138.jpg


PASSING stranger! you do not know how longingly I  
 look upon you,
You must be he I was seeking, or she I was seeking, (it  
 comes to me, as of a dream,)
I have somewhere surely lived a life of joy with you, All is recall'd as we flit by each other, fluid, affectionate,  
 chaste, matured,
You grew up with me, were a boy with me, or a girl  
 with me,
I ate with you, and slept with you—your body has be- 
 come not yours only, nor left my body mine only,
You give me the pleasure of your eyes, face, flesh, as  
 we pass—you take of my beard, breast, hands,  
 in return,
I am not to speak to you—I am to think of you when I  
 sit alone, or wake at night alone,
I am to wait—I do not doubt I am to meet you again, I am to see to it that I do not lose you.

This Moment, Yearning and Thoughtful.

THIS moment yearning and thoughtful, sitting alone, It seems to me there are other men in other lands,  
 yearning and thoughtful;
It seems to me I can look over and behold them, in  
 Germany, Italy, France, Spain—or far, far away,  
 in China, or in Russia or India—talking other  
And it seems to me if I could know those men, I should  
 become attached to them, as I do to men in my  
 own lands;
O I know we should be brethren and lovers, I know I should be happy with them.
  [ begin page 137 ]ppp.00270.139.jpg

I Hear it was Charged Against Me.

I HEAR it was charged against me that I sought to de- 
 stroy institutions;
But really I am neither for nor against institutions; (What indeed have I in common with them?—Or what  
 with the destruction of them?)
Only I will establish in the Mannahatta, and in every  
 city of These States, inland and seaboard,
And in the fields and woods, and above every keel,  
 little or large, that dents the water,
Without edifices, or rules, or trustees, or any argu- 
The institution of the dear love of comrades.

The Prairie-Grass Dividing.

THE prairie-grass dividing—its special odor breathing, I demand of it the spiritual corresponding, Demand the most copious and close companionship of  
Demand the blades to rise of words, acts, beings, Those of the open atmosphere, coarse, sunlit, fresh,  
Those that go their own gait, erect, stepping with free- 
 dom and command—leading, not following,
Those with a never-quell'd audacity—those with sweet  
 and lusty flesh, clear of taint,
Those that look carelessly in the faces of Presidents  
 and Governors, as to say, Who are you?
Those of earth-born passion, simple, never-constrain'd,  
 never obedient,
Those of inland America.
  [ begin page 138 ]ppp.00270.140.jpg

We Two Boys Together Clinging.

WE two boys together clinging, One the other never leaving, Up and down the roads going—North and South excur- 
 sions making,
Power enjoying—elbows stretching—fingers clutching, Arm'd and fearless—eating, drinking, sleeping, loving, No law less than ourselves owning—sailing, soldiering,  
 thieving, threatening,
Misers, menials, priests alarming—air breathing, water  
 drinking, on the turf or the sea-beach dancing,
Cities wrenching, ease scorning, statutes mocking, fee- 
 bleness chasing,
Fulfilling our foray.


A PROMISE to California, Also to the great Pastoral Plains, and for Oregon: Sojourning east a while longer, soon I travel toward  
 you, to remain, to teach robust American love;
For I know very well that I and robust love belong  
 among you, inland, and along the Western Sea;
For These States tend inland, and toward the Western  
 Sea—and I will also.


HERE the frailest leaves of me, and yet my strongest- 
Here I shade and hide my thoughts—I myself do not  
 expose them,
And yet they expose me more than all my other poems.
  [ begin page 139 ]ppp.00270.141.jpg

When I Peruse the Conquer'd Fame.

WHEN I peruse the conquer'd fame of heroes, and the  
 victories of mighty generals, I do not envy the  
Nor the President in his Presidency, nor the rich in his  
 great house;
But when I hear of the brotherhood of lovers, how it  
 was with them,
How through life, through dangers, odium, unchanging,  
 long and long,
Through youth, and through middle and old age, how  
 unfaltering, how affectionate and faithful they  
Then I am pensive—I hastily walk away, fill'd with the  
 bitterest envy.


WHAT think you I take my pen in hand to record? The battle-ship, perfect-model'd, majestic, that I saw  
 pass the offing to-day under full sail?
The splendors of the past day? Or the splendor of the  
 night that envelops me?
Or the vaunted glory and growth of the great city  
 spread around me?—No;
But I record of two simple men I saw to-day, on the  
 pier, in the midst of the crowd, parting the part- 
 ing of dear friends;
The one to remain hung on the other's neck, and pas- 
 sionately kiss'd him,
While the one to depart, tightly prest the one to remain  
 in his arms.
  [ begin page 140 ]ppp.00270.142.jpg


A GLIMPSE, through an interstice caught, Of a crowd of workmen and drivers in a bar-room,  
 around the stove, late of a winter night—And I  
 unremark'd, seated in a corner;
Of a youth who loves me, and whom I love, silently ap- 
 proaching, and seating himself near, that he may  
 hold me by the hand;
A long while, amid the noises of coming and going—of  
 drinking and oath and smutty jest,
There we two, content, happy in being together, speak-  
 ing little, perhaps not a word.


NO labor-saving machine, Nor discovery have I made; Nor will I be able to leave behind me any wealthy be- 
 quest to found a hospital or library,
Nor reminiscence of any deed of courage, for America, Nor literary success, nor intellect—nor book for the  
Only a few carols, vibrating through the air, I leave, For comrades and lovers.


A LEAF for hand in hand! You natural persons old and young! You on the Mississippi, and on all the branches and  
 bayous of the Mississippi!
You friendly boatmen and mechanics! You roughs! You twain! And all processions moving along the  
I wish to infuse myself among you till I see it com- 
 mon for you to walk hand in hand!
  [ begin page 141 ]ppp.00270.143.jpg


TO the East and to the West; To the man of the Seaside State, and of Pennsylvania, To the Kanadian of the North—to the Southerner I  
These, with perfect trust, to depict you as myself—the  
 germs are in all men;
I believe the main purport of These States is to found  
 a superb friendship, exalt, previously unknown,
Because I perceive it waits, and has been always wait- 
 ing, latent in all men.


EARTH! my likeness! Though you look so impassive, ample spheric  
I now suspect that is not all; I now suspect there is something fierce in you, eligible  
 to burst forth;
For an athlete is enamour'd of me—and I of him; But toward him there is something fierce and terrible  
 in me, eligible to burst forth,
I dare not tell it in words—not even in these songs.


I DREAM'D in a dream, I saw a city invincible to the  
 attacks of the whole of the rest of the earth;
I dream'd that was the new City of Friends; Nothing was greater there than the quality of robust  
 love—it led the rest;
It was seen every hour in the actions of the men of  
 that city,
And in all their looks and words.
  [ begin page 142 ]ppp.00270.144.jpg


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.

Sometimes with One I Love.

SOMETIMES with one I love, I fill myself with rage, for  
 fear I effuse unreturn'd love;
But now I think there is no unreturn'd love—the pay  
 is certain, one way or another;
(I loved a certain person ardently, and my love was  
 not return'd;
Yet out of that, I have written these songs.)

That Shadow, my Likeness.

THAT shadow, my likeness, that goes to and fro, seek- 
 ing a livelihood, chattering, chaffering;
How often I find myself standing and looking at it  
 where it flits;
How often I question and doubt whether that is really  
—But in these, and among my lovers, and caroling my  
O I never doubt whether that is really me.
  [ begin page 143 ]ppp.00270.145.jpg


1AMONG the men and women, the multitude, I perceive one picking me out by secret and divine  
Acknowledging none else—not parent, wife, husband,  
 brother, child, any nearer than I am;
Some are baffled—But that one is not—that one knows  
2Ah, lover and perfect equal! I meant that you should discover me so, by my faint  
And I, when I meet you, mean to discover you by the  
 like in you.


O BOY of the West! To you many things to absorb, I teach, to help you  
 become eleve of mine:
Yet if blood like mine circle not in your veins; If you be not silently selected by lovers, and do not  
 silently select lovers,
Of what use is it that you seek to become eleve of mine?


O YOU whom I often and silently come where you are,  
 that I may be with you;
As I walk by your side, or sit near, or remain in the  
 same room with you,
Little you know the subtle electric fire that for your  
 sake is playing within me.
  [ begin page 144 ]ppp.00270.146.jpg

Full of Life, Now.

1FULL of life, now, compact, visible, I, forty years old the Eighty-third Year of The States, To one a century hence, or any number of centuries  
To you, yet unborn, these, seeking you.
2When you read these, I, that was visible, am become  
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.)



1O TAKE my hand, Walt Whitman! Such gliding wonders! such sights and sounds! Such join'd unended links, each hook'd to the next! Each answering all—each sharing the earth with all. 2What widens within you, Walt Whitman? What waves and soils exuding? What climes? what persons and lands are here? Who are the infants? some playing, some slumbering? Who are the girls? who are the married women? Who are the groups of old men going slowly with their  
 arms about each other's necks?
What rivers are these? what forests and fruits are  
What are the mountains call'd that rise so high in the  
What myriads of dwellings are they, fill'd with dwellers?


3Within me latitude widens, longitude lengthens; Asia, Africa, Europe, are to the east—America is pro- 
 vided for in the west;
Banding the bulge of the earth winds the hot equator, Curiously north and south turn the axis-ends; Within me is the longest day—the sun wheels in slant- 
 ing rings—it does not set for months;
  [ begin page 146 ]ppp.00270.148.jpg Stretch'd in due time within me the midnight sun just  
 rises above the horizon, and sinks again;
Within me zones, seas, cataracts, plants, volcanoes,  
Malaysia, Polynesia, and the great West Indian islands.


4What do you hear, Walt Whitman? 5I hear the workman singing, and the farmer's wife  
I hear in the distance the sounds of children, and of  
 animals early in the day;
I hear quick rifle-cracks from the riflemen of East Ten- 
 nessee and Kentucky, hunting on hills;
I hear emulous shouts of Australians, pursuing the wild  
I hear the Spanish dance, with castanets, in the chestnut  
 shade, to the rebeck and guitar;
I hear continual echoes from the Thames; I hear fierce French liberty songs; I hear of the Italian boat-sculler the musical recitative  
 of old poems;
I hear the Virginia plantation-chorus of negroes, of a  
 harvest night, in the glare of pine-knots;
I hear the strong baritone of the 'long-shore-men of  
I hear the stevedores unlading the cargoes, and singing; I hear the screams of the water-fowl of solitary north- 
 west lakes;
I hear the rustling pattering of locusts, as they strike  
 the grain and grass with the showers of their  
 terrible clouds;
I hear the Coptic refrain, toward sundown, pensively  
 falling on the breast of the black venerable vast  
 mother, the Nile;
I hear the bugles of raft-tenders on the streams of  
I hear the chirp of the Mexican muleteer, and the  
 bells of the mule;
  [ begin page 147 ]ppp.00270.149.jpg I hear the Arab muezzin, calling from the top of the  
I hear the Christian priests at the altars of their  
 churches—I hear the responsive base and  
I hear the wail of utter despair of the white-hair'd  
 Irish grand-parents, when they learn the death  
 of their grandson;
I hear the cry of the Cossack, and the sailor's voice,  
 putting to sea at Okotsk;
I hear the wheeze of the slave-coffle, as the slaves  
 march on—as the husky gangs pass on by twos  
 and threes, fasten'd together with wrist-chains  
 and ankle-chains;
I hear the entreaties of women tied up for punishment  
 —I hear the sibilant whisk of thongs through  
 the air;
I hear the Hebrew reading his records and psalms; I hear the rhythmic myths of the Greeks, and the  
 strong legends of the Romans;
I hear the tale of the divine life and bloody death of  
 the beautiful God—the Christ;
I hear the Hindoo teaching his favorite pupil the  
 loves, wars, adages, transmitted safely to this  
 day, from poets who wrote three thousand years  


6What do you see, Walt Whitman? Who are they you salute, and that one after another  
 salute you?
7I see a great round wonder rolling through the air; I see diminute farms, hamlets, ruins, grave-yards, jails,  
 factories, palaces, hovels, huts of barbarians,  
 tents of nomads, upon the surface;
I see the shaded part on one side, where the sleepers  
 are sleeping—and the sun-lit part on the other  
I see the curious silent change of the light and shade,   [ begin page 148 ]ppp.00270.150.jpg I see distant lands, as real and near to the inhabitants  
 of them, as my land is to me.
8I see plenteous waters; I see mountain peaks—I see the sierras of Andes and  
 Alleghanies, where they range;
I see plainly the Himalayas, Chian Shahs, Altays,  
I see the giant pinnacles of Elbruz, Kazbek, Bazardjusi, I see the Rocky Mountains, and the Peak of Winds; 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  
I see Vesuvius and Etna—I see the Anahuacs; I see the Mountains of the Moon, and the Snow  
 Mountains, and the Red Mountains of Mada- 
I see the Vermont hills, and the long string of Cor- 
I see the vast deserts of Western America; 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 Japan waters, those of Hindostan, the China Sea,  
 and the Gulf of Guinea,
The spread of the Baltic, Caspian, Bothnia, the British  
 shores, and the Bay of Biscay,
The clear-sunn'd Mediterranean, and from one to an- 
 other of its islands,
The inland fresh-tasted seas of North America, The White Sea, and the sea around Greenland.
9I behold the mariners of the world; Some are in storms—some in the night, with the  
 watch on the look-out;
Some drifting helplessly—some with contagious dis- 
  [ begin page 149 ]ppp.00270.151.jpg 10I 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 Cape Guardafui, Bon, or Bajadore;
Others Dondra Head—others pass the Straits of Sun- 
 da—others Cape Lopatka—others Behring's  
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;
Others traverse the Zuyder Zee, or the Scheld; Others add to the exits and entrances at Sandy Hook; Others to the comers and goers at Gibraltar, or the  
Others sternly push their way through the northern  
Others descend or ascend the Obi or the Lena; Others the Niger or the Congo—others the Indus, the  
 Burampooter and Cambodia;
Others wait at the wharves of Manhattan, steam'd up,  
 ready to start;
Wait, swift and swarthy, in the ports of Australia; Wait at Liverpool, Glasgow, Dublin, Marseilles, Lis- 
 bon, Naples, Hamburg, Bremen, Bordeaux, the  
 Hague, Copenhagen;
Wait at Valparaiso, Rio Janeiro, Panama; Wait at their moorings at Boston, Philadelphia, Balti- 
 more, Charleston, New Orleans, Galveston, San  


11I see the tracks of the rail-roads of the earth; I see them welding State to State, city to city, through  
 North America;
I see them in Great Britain, I see them in Europe; I see them in Asia and in Africa.
  [ begin page 150 ]ppp.00270.152.jpg 12I see the electric telegraphs of the earth; I see the filaments of the news of the wars, deaths,  
 losses, gains, passions, of my race.
13I see the long river-stripes of the earth; I see where the Mississippi flows—I see where the Co- 
 lumbia flows;
I see the Great River, and the Falls of Niagara; I see the Amazon and the Paraguay; I see the four great rivers of China, the Amour, the  
 Yellow River, the Yiang-tse, and the Pearl;
I see where the Seine flows, and where the Danube,  
 the Loire, the Rhone, and the Guadalquiver  
I see the windings of the Volga, the Dnieper, the  
I see the Tuscan going down the Arno, and the Vene- 
 tian along the Po;
I see the Greek seaman sailing out of Egina bay.


14I see the site of the old empire of Assyria, and that  
 of Persia, and that of India;
I see the falling of the Ganges over the high rim of  
15I see the place of the idea of the Deity incarnated by  
 avatars in human forms;
I see the spots of the successions of priests on the earth  
 —oracles, sacrificers, brahmins, sabians, lamas,  
 monks, muftis, exhorters;
I see where druids walked the groves of Mona—I see  
 the mistletoe and vervain;
I see the temples of the deaths of the bodies of Gods—  
 I see the old signifiers.
16I see Christ once more 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;
  [ begin page 151 ]ppp.00270.153.jpg I see the place of the innocent rich life and hapless fate  
 of the beautiful nocturnal son, the full-limb'd  
I see Kneph, blooming, drest in blue, with the crown  
 of feathers on his head;
I see Hermes, unsuspected, dying, well-beloved, 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  


17I see the battle-fields of the earth—grass grows upon  
 them, and blossoms and corn;
I see the tracks of ancient and modern expeditions.
18I see the nameless masonries, venerable messages of  
 the unknown events, heroes, records of the earth.
19I see the places of the sagas; I see pine-trees and fir-trees torn by northern blasts; I see granite boulders and cliffs—I see green meadows  
 and lakes;
I see the burial-cairns of Scandinavian warriors; I see them raised high with stones, by the marge of  
 restless oceans, that the dead men's spirits, when  
 they wearied of their quiet graves, might rise up  
 through the mounds, and gaze on the tossing bil- 
 lows, and be refresh'd by storms, immensity, lib- 
 erty, action.
20I see the steppes of Asia; I see the tumuli of Mongolia—I see the tents of Kal- 
 mucks and Baskirs;
I see the nomadic tribes, with herds of oxen and cows; I see the table-lands notch'd with ravines—I see the  
 jungles and deserts;
I see the camel, the wild steed, the bustard, the fat- 
 tail'd sheep, the antelope, and the burrowing  
  [ begin page 152 ]ppp.00270.154.jpg 21I see the high-lands of Abyssinia; I see flocks of goats feeding, and see the fig-tree, tama- 
 rind, date,
And see fields of teff-wheat, and see the places of ver- 
 dure and gold.
22I see the Brazilian vaquero; I see the Bolivian ascending Mount Sorata; I see the Wacho crossing the plains—I see the incom- 
 parable rider of horses with his lasso on his  
I see over the pampas the pursuit of wild cattle for  
 their hides.


23I see little and large sea-dots, some inhabited, some  
I see two boats with nets, lying off the shore of Pau- 
 manok, quite still;
I see ten fishermen waiting—they discover now a thick  
 school of moss-bonkers—they drop the join'd  
 seine-ends in the water,
The boats separate—they diverge and row off, each on  
 its rounding course to the beach, enclosing the  
The net is drawn in by a windlass by those who stop  
Some of the fishermen lounge in their boats—others  
 stand negligently ankle-deep in the water, pois'd  
 on strong legs;
The boats are partly drawn up—the water slaps against  
On the sand, in heaps and winrows, well out from the  
 water, lie the green-back'd spotted mossbonkers.


24I see the despondent red man in the west, lingering  
 about the banks of Moingo, and about Lake  
  [ begin page 153 ]ppp.00270.155.jpg He has heard the quail and beheld the honey-bee, and  
 sadly prepared to depart.
25I see the regions of snow and ice; I see the sharp-eyed Samoiede and the Finn; I see the seal-seeker in his boat, poising his lance; I see the Siberian on his slight-built sledge, drawn by  
I see the porpoise-hunters—I see the whale-crews of  
 the South Pacific and the North Atlantic;
I see the cliffs, glaciers, torrents, valleys, of Switzerland  
 —I mark the long winters, and the isolation.
26I see the cities of the earth, and make myself at ran- 
 dom a part of them;
I am a real Parisian; I am a habitan of Vienna, St. Petersburg, Berlin, Con- 
I am of Adelaide, Sidney, Melbourne; I am of London, Manchester, Bristol, Edinburgh, Lim- 
I am of Madrid, Cadiz, Barcelona, Oporto, Lyons, Brus- 
 sels, Berne, Frankfort, Stuttgart, Turin, Florence;
I belong in Moscow, Cracow, Warsaw—or northward  
 in Christiania or Stockholm—or in Siberian  
 Irkutsk—or in some street in Iceland;
I descend upon all those cities, and rise from them  


27I see vapors exhaling from unexplored countries; I see the savage types, the bow and arrow, the poison'd  
 splint, the fetish, and the obi.
28I see African and Asiatic towns; I see Algiers, Tripoli, Derne, Mogadore, Timbuctoo,  
I see the swarms of Pekin, Canton, Benares, Delhi,  
 Calcutta, Yedo;
I see the Kruman in his hut, and the Dahoman and  
 Ashantee-man in their huts;
  [ begin page 154 ]ppp.00270.156.jpg I see the Turk smoking opium in Aleppo; I see the picturesque crowds at the fairs of Khiva, and  
 those of Herat;
I see Teheran—I see Muscat and Medina, and the inter- 
 vening sands—I see the caravans toiling onward;
I see Egypt and the Egyptians—I see the pyramids and  
I look on chisel'd histories, songs, philosophies, 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  
29I see the menials of the earth, laboring; I see the prisoners in the prisons; I see the defective human bodies of the earth; I see the blind, the deaf and dumb, idiots, hunchbacks,  
I see the pirates, thieves, betrayers, murderers, slave- 
 makers of the earth;
I see the helpless infants, and the helpless old men and  
30I 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.


31You, whoever you are! You daughter or son of England! You of the mighty Slavic tribes and empires! you Russ  
 in Russia!
  [ begin page 155 ]ppp.00270.157.jpg You dim-descended, black, divine-soul'd African, large,  
 fine-headed, nobly-form'd, superbly destin'd, on  
 equal terms with me!
You Norwegian! Swede! Dane! Icelander! you Prus- 
You Spaniard of Spain! you Portuguese! You Frenchwoman and Frenchman of France! You Belge! you liberty-lover of the Netherlands! You sturdy Austrian! you Lombard! Hun! Bohemian!  
 farmer of Styria!
You neighbor of the Danube! You working-man of the Rhine, the Elbe, or the Weser!  
 you working-woman too!
You Sardinian! you Bavarian! Swabian! Saxon! Wal- 
 lachian! Bulgarian!
You citizen of Prague! Roman! Neapolitan! Greek! You lithe matador in the arena at Seville! You mountaineer living lawlessly on the Taurus or  
You Bokh horse-herd, watching your mares and stal- 
 lions feeding!
You beautiful-bodied Persian, at full speed in the sad- 
 dle, 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 Ninevah! 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-man- 
 deb, ruling your families and tribes!
You olive-grower tending your fruit on fields of Naza- 
 reth, Damascus, or Lake Tiberias!
You Thibet trader on the wide inland, or bargaining  
 in the shops of Lassa!
  [ begin page 156 ]ppp.00270.158.jpg You Japanese man or woman! you liver in Madagas- 
 car, 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.
32Each 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.


33You Hottentot with clicking palate! You woolly- 
 hair'd hordes!
You own'd persons, dropping sweat-drops or blood- 
You human forms with the fathomless ever-impressive  
 countenances of brutes!
I dare not refuse you—the scope of the world, and of  
 time and space, are upon me.
34You poor koboo whom the meanest of the rest look  
 down upon, for all your glimmering language  
 language spirituality!
You low expiring aborigines of the hills of Utah, Ore- 
 gon, California!
You dwarf'd Kamtschatkan, Greenlander, Lapp! You Austral negro, naked, red, sooty, with protrusive  
 lip, grovelling, seeking your food!
You Caffre, Berber, Soudanese! You haggard, uncouth, untutor'd, Bedowee! You plague-swarms in Madras, Nankin, Kaubul, Cairo! You bather bathing in the Ganges!   [ begin page 157 ]ppp.00270.159.jpg You benighted roamer of Amazonia! you Patagonian!  
 you Fejee-man!
You peon of Mexico! you slave of Carolina, Texas,  
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.)
35My spirit has pass'd in compassion and determina- 
 tion around the whole earth;
I have look'd for equals and lovers, and found them  
 ready for me in all lands;
I think some divine rapport has equalized me with  


36O vapors! I think I have risen with you, and moved  
 away to distant continents, and fallen down there,  
 for reasons;
I think I have blown with you, O winds; O waters, I have finger'd every shore with you.
37I have run through what any river or strait of the  
 globe has run through;
I have taken my stand on the bases of peninsulas, and  
 on the high embedded rocks, to cry thence.
38 Salut au monde! What cities the light or warmth penetrates, I penetrate  
 those cities myself;
All islands to which birds wing their way, I wing my  
 way myself.
39Toward all, I raise high the perpendicular hand—I make the signal, To remain after me in sight forever, For all the haunts and homes of men.
  [ begin page 158 ]ppp.00270.160.jpg


SILENT and amazed, even when a little boy, I remember I heard the preacher every Sunday put  
 God in his statements,
As contending against some being or influence.


ON a flat road runs the well-train'd runner; He is lean and sinewy, with muscular legs; He is thinly clothed—he leans forward as he runs, With lightly closed fists, and arms partially rais'd.


WOMEN sit, or move to and fro—some old, some young; The young are beautiful—but the old are more beauti- 
 ful than the young.


I SEE the sleeping babe, nestling the breast of its mother; The sleeping mother and babe—hush'd, I study them  
 long and long.


OF obedience, faith, adhesiveness; As I stand aloof and look, there is to me something  
 profoundly affecting in large masses of men, fol- 
 lowing the lead of those who do not believe in  


AMERICA always! Always our own feuillage! Always Florida's green peninsula! Always the priceless  
 delta of Louisiana! Always the cotton-fields of  
 Alabama and Texas!
Always California's golden hills and hollows—and the  
 silver mountains of New Mexico! Always soft- 
 breath'd Cuba!
Always the vast slope drain'd by the Southern Sea—  
 inseparable with the slopes drain'd by the East- 
 ern and Western Seas;
The area the eighty-third year of These States—the  
 three and a half millions of square miles;
The eighteen thousand miles of sea-coast and bay-coast  
 on the main—the thirty thousand miles of river  
The seven millions of distinct families, and the same  
 number of dwellings—Always these, and more,  
 branching forth into numberless branches;
Always the free range and diversity! always the conti- 
 nent of Democracy!
Always the prairies, pastures, forests, vast cities, trav- 
 elers, Kanada, the snows;
Always these compact lands—lands tied at the hips  
 with the belt stringing the huge oval lakes;
Always the West, with strong native persons—the in- 
 creasing density there—the habitans, friendly,  
 threatening, ironical, scorning invaders;
All sights, South, North, East—all deeds, promiscu- 
 ously done at all times,
  [ begin page 160 ]ppp.00270.162.jpg All characters, movements, growths—a few noticed,  
 myriads unnoticed,
Through Mannahatta's streets I walking, these things  
On interior rivers, by night, in the glare of pine knots,  
 steamboats wooding up;
Sunlight by day on the valley of the Susquehanna, and  
 on the valleys of the Potomac and Rappahannock,  
 and the valleys of the Roanoke and Delaware;
In their northerly wilds, beasts of prey haunting the  
 Adirondacks, the hills—or lapping the Saginaw  
 waters to drink;
In a lonesome inlet, a sheldrake, lost from the flock,  
 sitting on the water, rocking silently;
In farmers' barns, oxen in the stable, their harvest labor  
 done—they rest standing—they are too tired;
Afar on arctic ice, the she-walrus lying drowsily, while  
 her cubs play around;
The hawk sailing where men have not yet sail'd—the  
 farthest polar sea, ripply, crystalline, open, be- 
 yond the floes;
White drift spooning ahead, where the ship in the tem- 
 pest dashes;
On solid land, what is done in cities, as the bells all  
 strike midnight together;
In primitive woods, the sounds there also sounding—  
 the howl of the wolf, the scream of the panther,  
 and the hoarse bellow of the elk;
In winter beneath the hard blue ice of Moosehead Lake  
 —in summer visible through the clear waters,  
 the great trout swimming;
In lower latitudes, in warmer air, in the Carolinas, the  
 large black buzzard floating slowly, high beyond  
 the tree tops,
Below, the red cedar, festoon'd with tylandria—the  
 pines and cypresses, growing out of the white  
 sand that spreads far and flat;
Rude boats descending the big Pedee—climbing plants,  
 parasites, with color'd flowers and berries, envel- 
 oping huge trees,
  [ begin page 161 ]ppp.00270.163.jpg The waving drapery on the live oak, trailing long and  
 low, noiselessly waved by the wind;
The camp of Georgia wagoners, just after dark—the  
 supper-fires, and the cooking and eating by  
 whites and negroes,
Thirty or forty great wagons—the mules, cattle, horses,  
 feeding from troughs,
The shadows, gleams, up under the leaves of the old  
 sycamore-trees—the flames—with the black smoke  
 from the pitch-pine, curling and rising;
Southern fishermen fishing—the sounds and inlets of  
 North Carolina's coast—the shad-fishery and the  
 herring-fishery—the large sweep-seines—the  
 windlasses on shore work'd by horses—the clear- 
 ing, curing, and packing-houses;
Deep in the forest, in piney woods, turpentine dropping  
 from the incisions in the trees—There are the  
 turpentine works,
There are the negroes at work, in good health—the  
 ground in all directions is cover'd with pine  
—In Tennessee and Kentucky, slaves busy in the coal- 
 ings, at the forge, by the furnace-blaze, or at the  
In Virginia, the planter's son returning after a long  
 absence, joyfully welcom'd and kiss'd by the aged  
 mulatto nurse;
On rivers, boatmen safely moor'd at nightfall, in their  
 boats, under shelter of high banks,
Some of the younger men dance to the sound of the  
 banjo or fiddle—others sit on the gunwale, smok- 
 ing and talking;
Late in the afternoon, the mocking-bird, the American  
 mimic, singing in the Great Dismal Swamp—  
 there are the greenish waters, the resinous odor,  
 the plenteous moss, the cypress tree, and the  
 juniper tree;
—Northward, young men of Mannahatta—the target  
 company from an excursion returning home at  
 evening—the musket-muzzles all bear bunches  
 of flowers presented by women;
  [ begin page 162 ]ppp.00270.164.jpg Children at play—or on his father's lap a young boy  
 fallen asleep, (how his lips move! how he smiles  
 in his sleep!)
The scout riding on horseback over the plains west of  
 the Mississippi—he ascends a knoll and sweeps  
 his eye around;
California life—the miner, bearded, dress'd in his rude  
 costume—the stanch California friendship—the  
 sweet air—the graves one, in passing, meets,  
 solitary, just aside the horse-path;
Down in Texas, the cotton-field, the negro-cabins—  
 drivers driving mules or oxen before rude carts—  
 cotton bales piled on banks and wharves;
Encircling all, vast-darting, up and wide, the American  
 Soul, with equal hemispheres—one Love, one  
 Dilation or Pride;
—In arriere, the peace-talk with the Iroquois, the abo- 
 rigines—the calumet, the pipe of good-will, arbi- 
 tration, and indorsement,
The sachem blowing the smoke first toward the sun and  
 then toward the earth,
The drama of the scalp-dance enacted with painted  
 faces and guttural exclamations,
The setting out of the war-party—the long and stealthy  
The single-file—the swinging hatchets—the surprise  
 and slaughter of enemies;
—All the acts, scenes, ways, persons, attitudes of These  
 States—reminiscences, all institutions,
All These States, compact—Every square mile of These  
 States, without excepting a particle—you also—  
 me also,
Me pleas'd, rambling in lanes and country fields, Pau- 
 manok's fields,
Me, observing the spiral flight of two little yellow but- 
 terflies, shuffling between each other, ascending  
 high in the air;
The darting swallow, the destroyer of insects—the fall  
 traveler southward, but returning northward  
 early in the spring;
  [ begin page 163 ]ppp.00270.165.jpg The country boy at the close of the day, driving the  
 herd of cows, and shouting to them as they loiter  
 to browse by the road-side;
The city wharf—Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore,  
 Charleston, New Orleans, San Francisco,
The departing ships, when the sailors heave at the  
—Evening—me in my room—the setting sun, The setting summer sun shining in my open window,  
 showing the swarm of flies, suspended, balancing  
 in the air in the centre of the room, darting  
 athwart, up and down, casting swift shadows in  
 specks on the opposite wall, where the shine is;
The athletic American matron speaking in public to  
 crowds of listeners;
Males, females, immigrants, combinations—the copious- 
 ness—the individuality of The States, each for  
 itself—the money-makers;
Factories, machinery, the mechanical forces—the wind- 
 lass, lever, pulley—All certainties,
The certainty of space, increase, freedom, futurity, In space, the sporades, the scatter'd islands, the stars—  
 on the firm earth, the lands, my lands;
O lands! all so dear to me—what you are, (whatever it  
 is,) I become a part of that, whatever it is;
Southward there, I screaming, with wings slow flapping,  
 with the myriads of gulls wintering along the  
 coasts of Florida—or in Louisiana, with pelicans  
Otherways, there, atwixt the banks of the Arkansaw, the  
 Rio Grande, the Nueces, the Brazos, the Tombig- 
 bee, the Red River, the Saskatchawan, or the  
 Osage, I with the spring waters laughing and  
 skipping and running;
Northward, on the sands, on some shallow bay of Pau- 
 manok, I, with parties of snowy herons wading  
 in the wet to seek worms and aquatic plants;
Retreating, triumphantly twittering, the king-bird, from  
 piercing the crow with its bill, for amusement—  
 And I triumphantly twittering;
  [ begin page 164 ]ppp.00270.166.jpg The migrating flock of wild geese alighting in autumn  
 to refresh themselves—the body of the flock feed  
 —the sentinels outside move around with erect  
 heads watching, and are from time to time re- 
 liev'd by other sentinels—And I feeding and  
 taking turns with the rest;
In Kanadian forests, the moose, large as an ox, corner'd  
 by hunters, rising desperately on his hind-feet,  
 and plunging with his fore-feet, the hoofs as  
 sharp as knives—And I, plunging at the hunters,  
 corner'd and desperate;
In the Mannahatta, streets, piers, shipping, store-houses,  
 and the countless workmen working in the shops,
And I too of the Mannahatta, singing thereof—and no  
 less in myself than the whole of the Mannahatta  
 in itself,
Singing the song of These, my ever-united lands—my  
 body no more inevitably united, part to part, and  
 made one identity, any more than my lands are  
 inevitably united, and made ONE IDENTITY;
Nativities, climates, the grass of the great Pastoral  
Cities, labors, death, animals, products, war, good and  
 evil—these me,
These affording, in all their particulars, endless feuil- 
 lage to me and to America, how can I do less  
 than pass the clue of the union of them, to afford  
 the like to you?
Whoever you are! how can I but offer you divine leaves,  
 that you also be eligible as I am?
How can I but, as here, chanting, invite you for your- 
 self to collect bouquets of the incomparable  
 feuillage of These States?



1WEAPON, shapely, naked, wan! Head from the mother's bowels drawn! Wooded flesh and metal bone! limb only one, and lip  
 only one!
Gray-blue leaf by red-heat grown! helve produced from  
 a little seed sown!
Resting the grass amid and upon, To be lean'd, and to lean on.
2Strong shapes, and attributes of strong shapes—mas- 
 culine trades, sights and sounds;
Long varied train of an emblem, dabs of music; Fingers of the organist skipping staccato over the keys  
 of the great organ.


3Welcome are all earth's lands, each for its kind; Welcome are lands of pine and oak; Welcome are lands of the lemon and fig; Welcome are lands of gold; Welcome are lands of wheat and maize—welcome those  
 of the grape;
Welcome are lands of sugar and rice; Welcome the cotton-lands—welcome those of the white  
 potato and sweet potato;
Welcome are mountains, flats, sands, forests, prairies;   [ begin page 166 ]ppp.00270.168.jpg Welcome the rich borders of rivers, table-lands, open- 
Welcome the measureless grazing-lands—welcome the  
 teeming soil of orchards, flax, honey, hemp;
Welcome just as much the other more hard-faced lands; Lands rich as lands of gold, or wheat and fruit lands; Lands of mines, lands of the manly and rugged ores; Lands of coal, copper, lead, tin, zinc; LANDS OF IRON! lands of the make of the axe!


4The log at the wood-pile, the axe supported by it; The sylvan hut, the vine over the doorway, the space  
 clear'd for a garden,
The irregular tapping of rain down on the leaves, after  
 the storm is lull'd,
The wailing and moaning at intervals, the thought of  
 the sea,
The thought of ships struck in the storm, and put on  
 their beam ends, and the cutting away of masts;
The sentiment of the huge timbers of old-fashion'd  
 houses and barns;
The remember'd print or narrative, the voyage at a  
 venture of men, families, goods,
The disembarkation, the founding of a new city, The voyage of those who sought a New England and  
 found it—the outset anywhere,
The settlements of the Arkansas, Colorado, Ottawa,  
The slow progress, the scant fare, the axe, rifle, saddle- 
The beauty of all adventurous and daring persons, The beauty of wood-boys and wood-men, with their  
 clear untrimm'd faces,
The beauty of independence, departure, actions that  
 rely on themselves,
The American contempt for statutes and ceremonies,  
 the boundless impatience of restraint,
The loose drift of character, the inkling through ran- 
 dom types, the solidification;
  [ begin page 167 ]ppp.00270.169.jpg The butcher in the slaughter-house, the hands aboard  
 schooners and sloops, the raftsman, the pioneer,
Lumbermen in their winter camp, day-break in the  
 woods, stripes of snow on the limbs of trees, the  
 occasional snapping,
The glad clear sound of one's own voice, the merry  
 song, the natural life of the woods, the strong  
 day's work,
The blazing fire at night, the sweet taste of supper, the  
 talk, the bed of hemlock boughs, and the bear- 
—The house-builder at work in cities or anywhere, The preparatory jointing, squaring, sawing, mortising, The hoist-up of beams, the push of them in their places,  
 laying them regular,
Setting the studs by their tenons in the mortises, accord- 
 ing as they were prepared,
The blows of mallets and hammers, the attitudes of the  
 men, their curv'd limbs,
Bending, standing, astride the beams, driving in pins,  
 holding on by posts and braces,
The hook'd arm over the plate, the other arm wielding  
 the axe,
The floor-men forcing the planks close, to be nail'd, Their postures bringing their weapons downward on  
 the bearers,
The echoes resounding through the vacant building; The huge store-house carried up in the city, well under  
The six framing-men, two in the middle, and two at  
 each end, carefully bearing on their shoulders a  
 heavy stick for a cross-beam,
The crowded line of masons with trowels in their right  
 hands, rapidly laying the long side-wall, two  
 hundred feet from front to rear,
The flexible rise and fall of backs, the continual click  
 of the trowels striking the bricks,
The bricks, one after another, each laid so workman- 
 like in its place, and set with a knock of the  
  [ begin page 168 ]ppp.00270.170.jpg The piles of materials, the mortar on the mortar-boards,  
 and the steady replenishing by the hod-men;
—Spar-makers in the spar-yard, the swarming row of  
 well-grown apprentices,
The swing of their axes on the square-hew'd log,  
 shaping it toward the shape of a mast,
The brisk short crackle of the steel driven slantingly  
 into the pine,
The butter-color'd chips flying off in great flakes and  
The limber motion of brawny young arms and hips in  
 easy costumes;
The constructor of wharves, bridges, piers, bulk-heads,  
 floats, stays against the sea;
—The city fireman—the fire that suddenly bursts forth  
 in the close-pack'd square,
The arriving engines, the hoarse shouts, the nimble  
 stepping and daring,
The strong command through the fire-trumpets, the  
 falling in line, the rise and fall of the arms  
 forcing the water,
The slender, spasmic, blue-white jets—the bringing  
 to bear of the hooks and ladders, and their  
The crash and cut away of connecting wood-work, or  
 through floors, if the fire smoulders under them,
The crowd with their lit faces, watching—the glare  
 and dense shadows;
—The forger at his forge-furnace, and the user of iron  
 after him,
The maker of the axe large and small, and the welder  
 and temperer,
The chooser breathing his breath on the cold steel,  
 and trying the edge with his thumb,
The one who clean-shapes the handle, and sets it firmly  
 in the socket;
The shadowy processions of the portraits of the past  
 users also,
The primal patient mechanics, the architects and en- 
The far-off Assyrian edifice and Mizra edifice,   [ begin page 169 ]ppp.00270.171.jpg The Roman lictors preceding the consuls, The antique European warrior with his axe in combat, The uplifted arm, the clatter of blows on the helmeted  
The death-howl, the limpsey tumbling body, the rush  
 of friend and foe thither,
The siege of revolted lieges determin'd for liberty, The summons to surrender, the battering at castle gates,  
 the truce and parley;
The sack of an old city in its time, The bursting in of mercenaries and bigots tumultuously  
 and disorderly.
Roar, flames, blood, drunkenness, madness, Goods freely rifled from houses and temples, screams of  
 women in the gripe of brigands,
Craft and thievery of camp-followers, men running, old  
 persons despairing,
The hell of war, the cruelties of creeds, The list of all executive deeds and words, just or unjust, The power of personality, just or unjust.


5Muscle and pluck forever! What invigorates life, invigorates death, And the dead advance as much as the living advance, And the future is no more uncertain than the present, And the roughness of the earth and of man encloses as  
 much as the delicatesse of the earth and of man,
And nothing endures but personal qualities.
6What do you think endures? Do you think the great city endures? Or a teeming manufacturing state? or a prepared con- 
 stitution? or the best built steamships?
Or hotels of granite and iron? or any chef-d'uvres of  
 engineering, forts, armaments?
7Away! These are not to be cherish'd for themselves; They fill their hour, the dancers dance, the musicians  
 play for them;
  [ begin page 170 ]ppp.00270.172.jpg The show passes, all does well enough of course, All does very well till one flash of defiance.
8The great city is that which has the greatest man or  
If it be a few ragged huts, it is still the greatest city in  
 the whole world.


9The place where the great city stands is not the  
 place of stretch'd wharves, docks, manufactures,  
 deposits of produce,
Nor the place of ceaseless salutes of new comers, or the  
 anchor-lifters of the departing,
Nor the place of the tallest and costliest buildings, or  
 shops selling goods from the rest of the earth,
Nor the place of the best libraries and schools—nor the  
 place where money is plentiest,
Nor the place of the most numerous population.
10Where the city stands with the brawniest breed of  
 orators and bards;
Where the city stands that is beloved by these, and  
 loves them in return, and understands them;
Where no monuments exist to heroes, but in the com- 
 mon words and deeds;
Where thrift is in its place, and prudence is in its place; Where the men and women think lightly of the laws; Where the slave ceases, and the master of slaves ceases; Where the populace rise at once against the never- 
 ending audacity of elected persons;
Where fierce men and women pour forth, as the sea to  
 the whistle of death pours its sweeping and un- 
 ript waves;
Where outside authority enters always after the preced- 
 ence of inside authority;
Where the citizen is always the head and ideal—and  
 President, Mayor, Governor, and what not, are  
 agents for pay;
Where children are taught to be laws to themselves,  
 and to depend on themselves;
  [ begin page 171 ]ppp.00270.173.jpg Where equanimity is illustrated in affairs; Where speculations on the Soul are encouraged; Where women walk in public processions in the streets,  
 the same as the men,
Where they enter the public assembly and take places  
 the same as the men;
Where the city of the faithfulest friends stands; Where the city of the cleanliness of the sexes stands; Where the city of the healthiest fathers stands; Where the city of the best-bodied mothers stands, There the great city stands.


11How beggarly appear arguments before a defiant deed! How the floridness of the materials of cities shrivels  
 before a man's or woman's look!
12All waits, or goes by default, till a strong being ap- 
A strong being is the proof of the race, and of the ability  
 of the universe;
When he or she appears, materials are overaw'd, The dispute on the Soul stops, The old customs and phrases are confronted, turn'd  
 back, or laid away.
13What is your money-making now? what can it do now? What is your respectability now? What are your theology, tuition, society, traditions,  
 statute-books, now?
Where are your jibes of being now? Where are your cavils about the Soul now?


14A sterile landscape covers the ore—there is as good  
 as the best, for all the forbidding appearance;
There is the mine, there are the miners; The forge-furnace is there, the melt is accomplish'd;  
 the hammers-men are at hand with their tongs  
 and hammers;
What always served, and always serves, is at hand.
  [ begin page 172 ]ppp.00270.174.jpg 15Than this, nothing has better served—it has served all: Served the fluent-tongued and subtle-sensed Greek, and  
 long ere the Greek:
Served in building the buildings that last longer than  
Served the Hebrew, the Persian, the most ancient Hin- 
Served the mound-raiser on the Mississippi—served  
 those whose relics remain in Central America;
Served Albic temples in woods or on plains, with un- 
 hewn pillars, and the druids;
Served the artificial clefts, vast, high, silent, on the  
 snow-cover'd hills of Scandinavia;
Served those who, time out of mind, made on the gran- 
 ite walls rough sketches of the sun, moon, stars,  
 ships, ocean-waves;
Served the paths of the irruptions of the Goths—served  
 the pastoral tribes and nomads;
Served the long, long distant Kelt—served the hardy  
 pirates of the Baltic;
Served before any of those, the venerable and harmless  
 men of Ethiopia;
Served the making of helms for the galleys of pleasure,  
 and the making of those for war;
Served all great works on land, and all great works on  
 the sea;
For the medival ages, and before the medival ages; Served not the living only, then as now, but served the  


16I see the European headsman; He stands mask'd, clothed in red, with huge legs, and  
 strong naked arms,
And leans on a ponderous axe.
17(Whom have you slaughter'd lately, European heads- 
Whose is that blood upon you, so wet and sticky?)
18I see the clear sunsets of the martyrs;   [ begin page 173 ]ppp.00270.175.jpg I see from the scaffolds the descending ghosts, Ghosts of dead lords, uncrown'd ladies, impeach'd min- 
 isters, rejected kings,
Rivals, traitors, poisoners, disgraced chieftains, and the  
19I see those who in any land have died for the good  
The seed is spare, nevertheless the crop shall never run  
(Mind you, O foreign kings, O priests, the crop shall  
 never run out.)
20I see the blood wash'd entirely away from the axe; Both blade and helve are clean; They spirt no more the blood of European nobles—  
 they clasp no more the necks of queens.
21I see the headsman withdraw and become useless; I see the scaffold untrodden and mouldy—I see no  
 longer any axe upon it;
I see the mighty and friendly emblem of the power of  
 my own race—the newest, largest race.


22(America! I do not vaunt my love for you; I have what I have.) 23The axe leaps! The solid forest gives fluid utterances; They tumble forth, they rise and form, Hut, tent, landing, survey, Flail, plough, pick, crowbar, spade, Shingle, rail, prop, wainscot, jamb, lath, panel, gable, Citadel, ceiling, saloon, academy, organ, exhibition- 
 house, library,
Cornice, trellis, pilaster, balcony, window, shutter, tur- 
 ret, porch,
Hoe, rake, pitch-fork, pencil, wagon, staff, saw, jack- 
 plane, mallet, wedge, rounce,
  [ begin page 174 ]ppp.00270.176.jpg Chair, tub, hoop, table, wicket, vane, sash, floor, Work-box, chest, string'd instrument, boat, frame, and  
 what not,
Capitols of States, and capitol of the nation of States, Long stately rows in avenues, hospitals for orphans, or  
 for the poor or sick,
Manhattan steamboats and clippers, taking the measure  
 of all seas.
24The shapes arise! Shapes of the using of axes anyhow, and the users, and  
 all that neighbors them,
Cutters down of wood, and haulers of it to the Penob- 
 scot or Kennebec,
Dwellers in cabins among the Californian mountains, or  
 by the little lakes, or on the Columbia,
Dwellers south on the banks of the Gila or Rio Grande  
 —friendly gatherings, the characters and fun,
Dwellers up north in Minnesota and by the Yellowstone  
 river—dwellers on coasts and off coasts,
Seal-fishers, whalers, arctic seamen breaking passages  
 through the ice.
25The shapes arise! Shapes of factories, arsenals, foundries, markets; Shapes of the two-threaded tracks of railroads; Shapes of the sleepers of bridges, vast frameworks,  
 girders, arches;
Shapes of the fleets of barges, tows, lake and canal craft,  
 river craft.
26The shapes arise! Ship-yards and dry-docks along the Eastern and West- 
 ern Seas, and in many a bay and by-place,
The live-oak kelsons, the pine planks, the spars, the  
 hackmatack-roots for knees,
The ships themselves on their ways, the tiers of scaf- 
 folds, the workmen busy outside and inside,
The tools lying around, the great auger and little auger,  
 the adze, bolt, line, square, gouge, and bead- 
  [ begin page 175 ]ppp.00270.177.jpg


27The shapes arise! The shape measur'd, saw'd, jack'd, join'd, stain'd, The coffin-shape for the dead to lie within in his shroud; The shape got out in posts, in the bedstead posts, in  
 the posts of the bride's bed;
The shape of the little trough, the shape of the rockers  
 beneath, the shape of the babe's cradle;
The shape of the floor-planks, the floor-planks for  
 dancers' feet;
The shape of the planks of the family home, the home  
 of the friendly parents and children,
The shape of the roof of the home of the happy young  
 man and woman—the roof over the well-married  
 young man and woman,
The roof over the supper joyously cook'd by the chaste  
 wife, and joyously eaten by the chaste husband,  
 content after his day's work.
28The shapes arise! The shape of the prisoner's place in the court-room, and  
 of him or her seated in the place;
The shape of the liquor-bar lean'd against by the young  
 rum-drinker and the old rum-drinker;
The shape of the shamed and angry stairs, trod by  
 sneaking footsteps;
The shape of the sly settee, and the adulterous un- 
 wholesome couple;
The shape of the gambling-board with its devilish win- 
 nings and losings;
The shape of the step-ladder for the convicted and sen- 
 tenced murderer, the murderer with haggard  
 face and pinion'd arms,
The sheriff at hand with his deputies, the silent and  
 white-lipp'd crowd, the dangling of the rope.
29The shapes arise! Shapes of doors giving many exits and entrances; The door passing the dissever'd friend, flush'd and in  
The door that admits good news and bad news;   [ begin page 176 ]ppp.00270.178.jpg The door whence the son left home, confident and  
 puff'd up;
The door he enter'd again from a long and scandalous  
 absence, diseas'd, broken down, without inno- 
 cence, without means.


30Her shape arises, She, less guarded than ever, yet more guarded than  
The gross and soil'd she moves among do not make her  
 gross and soil'd;
She knows the thoughts as she passes—nothing is con- 
 ceal'd from her;
She is none the less considerate or friendly therefor; She is the best belov'd—it is without exception—she  
 has no reason to fear, and she does not fear;
Oaths, quarrels, hiccupp'd songs, smutty expressions,  
 are idle to her as she passes;
She is silent—she is possess'd of herself—they do not  
 offend her;
She receives them as the laws of nature receive them  
 —she is strong,
She too is a law of nature—there is no law stronger  
 than she is.


31The main shapes arise! Shapes of Democracy, total—result of centuries; Shapes, ever projecting other shapes; Shapes of turbulent manly cities; Shapes of the friends and home-givers of the whole  
Shapes bracing the earth, and braced with the whole  



1AFOOT and light-hearted, I take to the open road, Healthy, free, the world before me, The long brown path before me, leading wherever I  
2Henceforth I ask not good-fortune—I myself am good- 
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more,  
 need nothing,
Strong and content, I travel the open road.
3The 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. 4(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.)


5You road I enter upon and look around! I believe  
 you are not all that is here;
I believe that much unseen is also here.
  [ begin page 178 ]ppp.00270.180.jpg 6Here the profound lesson of reception, neither prefer- 
 ence or denial;
The black with his woolly head, the felon, the diseas'd,  
 the illiterate person, are not denied;
The birth, the hasting after the physician, the beggar's  
 tramp, the drunkard's stagger, the laughing party  
 of mechanics,
The escaped youth, the rich person's carriage, the fop,  
 the eloping couple,
The early market-man, the hearse, the moving of fur- 
 niture into the town, the return back from the  
They pass—I also pass—anything passes—none can be  
None but are accepted—none but are dear to me:


7You air that serves me with breath to speak! You objects that call from diffusion my meanings, and  
 give them shape!
You light that wraps me and all things in delicate  
 equable showers!
You paths worn in the irregular hollows by the road- 
I think you are latent with unseen existences—you are  
 so dear to me.
8You flagg'd walks of the cities! you strong curbs at  
 the edges!
You ferries! you planks and posts of wharves! you  
 timber-lined sides! you distant ships!
You rows of houses! you window-pierc'd facades! you  
You porches and entrances! you copings and iron  
You windows whose transparent shells might expose so  
You doors and ascending steps! you arches! You gray stones of interminable pavements! you trod- 
 den crossings!
  [ begin page 179 ]ppp.00270.181.jpg From all that has been near you, I believe you have im- 
 parted to yourselves, and now would impart the  
 same secretly to me;
From the living and the dead I think you have peopled  
 your impassive surfaces, and the spirits thereof  
 would be evident and amicable with me.


9The earth expanding right hand and left hand, The picture alive, every part in its best light, The music falling in where it is wanted, and stopping  
 where it is not wanted,
The cheerful voice of the public road—the gay fresh  
 sentiment of the road.
10O highway I travel! O public road! do you say to  
 me, Do not leave me?
Do you say, Venture not? If you leave me, you are lost? Do you say, I am already prepared—I am well-beaten and  
  undenied—adhere to me?
11O public road! I say back, I am not afraid to leave  
 you—yet I love you;
You express me better than I can express myself; You shall be more to me than my poem.
12I think heroic deeds were all conceiv'd in the open  
 air, and all great poems also;
I think I could stop here myself, and do miracles; (My judgments, thoughts, I henceforth try by the open  
 air, the road:)
I think whatever I shall meet on the road I shall like,  
 and whoever beholds me shall like me;
I think whoever I see must be happy.


13From this hour, freedom! From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and  
 imaginary lines,
Going where I list, my own master, total and absolute,   [ begin page 180 ]ppp.00270.182.jpg Listening to others, and considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of  
 the holds that would hold me.
14I inhale great draughts of space; The east and the west are mine, and the north and the  
 south are mine.
15I am larger, better than I thought, I did not know I held so much goodness. 16All seems beautiful to me; I can repeat over to men and women, You have done  
 such good to me, I would do the same to you.
17I will recruit for myself and you as I go; I will scatter myself among men and women as I go; I will toss the new gladness and roughness among  
Whoever denies me, it shall not trouble me; Whoever accepts me, he or she shall be blessed, and  
 shall bless me.


18Now if a thousand perfect men were to appear, it  
 would not amaze me;
Now if a thousand beautiful forms of women appear'd,  
 it would not astonish me.
19Now I see the secret of the making of the best per- 
It is to grow in the open air, and to eat and sleep with  
 the earth.
20Here a great personal deed has room; A great deed seizes upon the hearts of the whole race  
 of men,
Its effusion of strength and will overwhelms law, and  
 mocks all authority and all argument against it.
  [ begin page 181 ]ppp.00270.183.jpg 21Here is the test of wisdom; Wisdom is not finally tested in schools; Wisdom cannot be pass'd from one having it, to an- 
 other not having it;
Wisdom is of the Soul, is not susceptible of proof, is  
 its own proof,
Applies to all stages and objects and qualities, and is  
Is the certainty of the reality and immortality of things,  
 and the excellence of things;
Something there is in the float of the sight of things.  
 that provokes it out of the Soul.
22Now I rexamine philosophies and religions, They may prove well in lecture-rooms, yet not prove at  
 all under the spacious clouds, and along the  
 landscape and flowing currents.
23Here is realization; Here is a man tallied—he realizes here what he has in  
The past, the future, majesty, love—if they are vacant of  
 you, you are vacant of them.
24Only 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?
25Here is adhesiveness—it is not previously fashion'd—  
 it is apropos;
Do you know what it is, as you pass, to be loved by  
Do you know the talk of those turning eye-balls?


26Here is the efflux of the Soul; The efflux of the Soul comes from within, through em- 
 bower'd gates, ever provoking questions:
These yearnings, why are they? These thoughts in the  
 darkness, why are they?
  [ begin page 182 ]ppp.00270.184.jpg Why are there men and women that while they are  
 nigh me, the sun-light expands my blood!
Why, when they leave me, do my pennants of joy sink  
 flat and lank?
Why are there trees I never walk under, but large and  
 melodious thoughts descend upon me?
(I think they hang there winter and summer on those  
 trees, and always drop fruit as I pass;)
What is it I interchange so suddenly with strangers? What with some driver, as I ride on the seat by his  
What with some fisherman, drawing his seine by the  
 shore, as I walk by, and pause?
What gives me to be free to a woman's or man's good- 
 will? What gives them to be free to mine?


27The efflux of the Soul is happiness—here is happi- 
I think it pervades the open air, waiting at all times; Now it flows unto us—we are rightly charged.
28Here rises the fluid and attaching character; The fluid and attaching character is the freshness and  
 sweetness of man and woman;
(The herbs of the morning sprout no fresher and sweeter  
 every day out of the roots of themselves, than it  
 sprouts fresh and sweet continually out of itself.)
29Toward 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  
Toward it heaves the shuddering longing ache of contact.


30Allons! whoever you are, come travel with me! Traveling with me, you find what never tires.   [ begin page 183 ]ppp.00270.185.jpg 31The earth never tires; The earth is rude, silent, incomprehensible at first—  
 Nature is rude and incomprehensible at first;
Be not discouraged—keep on—there are divine things,  
 well envelop'd;
I swear to you there are divine things more beautiful  
 than words can tell.
32Allons! we must not stop here! However sweet these laid-up stores—however conve- 
 nient this dwelling, we cannot remain here;
However shelter'd this port, and however calm these  
 waters, we must not anchor here;
However welcome the hospitality that surrounds us, we  
 are permitted to receive it but a little while.


33Allons! the inducements shall be greater; We will sail pathless and wild seas; We will go where winds blow, waves dash, and the  
 Yankee clipper speeds by under full sail.
34Allons! with power, liberty, the earth, the elements! Health, defiance, gayety, self-esteem, curiosity; Allons! from all formules! From your formules, O bat-eyed and materialistic  
35The stale cadaver blocks up the passage—the burial  
 waits no longer.
36Allons! yet take warning! He traveling with me needs the best blood, thews, en- 
None may come to the trial, till he or she bring courage  
 and health.
37Come not here if you have already spent the best of  
Only those may come, who come in sweet and deter- 
 min'd bodies;
  [ begin page 184 ]ppp.00270.186.jpg No diseas'd person—no rum-drinker or venereal taint  
 is permitted here.
38I and mine do not convince by arguments, similes,  
We convince by our presence.


39Listen! I will be honest with you; I do not offer the old smooth prizes, but offer rough  
 new prizes;
These are the days that must happen to you:
40You shall not heap up what is call'd riches, You shall scatter with lavish hand all that you earn or  
You but arrive at the city to which you were destin'd—  
 you hardly settle yourself to satisfaction, before  
 you are call'd by an irresistible call to depart,
You shall be treated to the ironical smiles and mock- 
 ings of those who remain behind you;
What beckonings of love you receive, you shall only  
 answer with passionate kisses of parting,
You shall not allow the hold of those who spread their  
 reach'd hands towards you.


41Allons! after the GREAT COMPANIONS! and to belong  
 to them!
They too are on the road! they are the swift and ma- 
 jestic men! they are the greatest women.
42Over that which hinder'd them—over that which re- 
 tarded—passing impediments large or small,
Committers of crimes, committers of many beautiful  
Enjoyers of calms of seas, and storms of seas, Sailors of many a ship, walkers of many a mile of land, Habitus of many distant countries, habitus of far- 
 distant dwellings,
  [ begin page 185 ]ppp.00270.187.jpg Trusters of men and women, observers of cities, solitary  
Pausers and contemplators of tufts, blossoms, shells of  
 the shore,
Dancers at wedding-dances, kissers of brides, tender  
 helpers of children, bearers of children,
Soldiers of revolts, standers by gaping graves, lowerers  
 down of coffins,
Journeyers over consecutive seasons, over the years—  
 the curious years, each emerging from that which  
 preceded it,
Journeyers as with companions, namely, their own  
 diverse phases,
Forth-steppers from the latent unrealized baby-days, Journeyers gayly with their own youth—Journeyers  
 with their bearded and well-grain'd manhood,
Journeyers with their womanhood, ample, unsurpass'd,  
Journeyers with their own sublime old age of manhood  
 or womanhood,
Old age, calm, expanded, broad with the haughty  
 breadth of the universe,
Old age, flowing free with the delicious near-by freedom  
 of death.


43Allons! to that which is endless, as it was begin- 
To undergo much, tramps of days, rests of nights, To merge all in the travel they tend to, and the days and  
 nights they tend to,
Again to merge them in the start of superior journeys; To see nothing anywhere but what you may reach it  
 and pass it,
To conceive no time, however distant, but what you  
 may reach it and pass it,
To look up or down no road but it stretches and waits  
 for you—however long, but it stretches and waits  
 for you;
To see no being, not God's or any, but you also go  
  [ begin page 186 ]ppp.00270.188.jpg To see no possession but you may possess it—enjoying  
 all without labor or purchase—abstracting the  
 feast, yet not abstracting one particle of it;
To take the best of the farmer's farm and the rich man's  
 elegant villa, and the chaste blessings of the well- 
 married couple, and the fruits of orchards and  
 flowers of gardens,
To take to your use out of the compact cities as you  
 pass through,
To carry buildings and streets with you afterward  
 wherever you go,
To gather the minds of men out of their brains as you  
 encounter them—to gather the love out of their  
To take your lovers on the road with you, for all that  
 you leave them behind you,
To know the universe itself as a road—as many roads—  
 as roads for traveling souls.


44The Soul travels; The body does not travel as much as the soul; The body has just as great a work as the soul, and parts  
 away at last for the journeys of the soul.
45All parts away for the progress of souls; All religion, all solid things, arts, governments,—all  
 that was or is apparent upon this globe or any  
 globe, falls into niches and corners before the  
 procession of Souls along the grand roads of the  
46Of the progress of the souls of men and women along  
 the grand roads of the universe, all other progress  
 is the needed emblem and sustenance.
47Forever alive, forever forward, Stately, solemn, sad, withdrawn, baffled, mad, turbulent,  
 feeble, dissatisfied,
Desperate, proud, fond, sick, accepted by men, rejected  
 by men,
  [ begin page 187 ]ppp.00270.189.jpg They go! they go! I know that they go, but I know  
 not where they go;
But I know that they go toward the best—toward some- 
 thing great.


48Allons! whoever you are! 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.
49Allons! out of the dark confinement! It is useless to protest—I know all, and expose it. 50Behold, through you as bad as the rest, Through the laughter, dancing, dining, supping, of  
Inside of dresses and ornaments, inside of those wash'd  
 and trimm'd faces,
Behold a secret silent loathing and despair.
51No husband, no wife, no friend, trusted to hear the  
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 rail-roads, in steamboats, in the public  
Home to the houses of men and women, at the table, in  
 the bed-room, everywhere,
Smartly attired, countenance smiling, form upright,  
 death under the breast-bones, hell under the  
Under the broadcloth and gloves, under the ribbons  
 and artificial flowers,
Keeping fair with the customs, speaking not a syllable  
 of itself,
Speaking of anything else, but never of itself.
  [ begin page 188 ]ppp.00270.190.jpg


52Allons! through struggles and wars! The goal that was named cannot be countermanded. 53Have the past struggles succeeded? What has succeeded? yourself? your nation? nature? Now understand me well—It is provided in the essence  
 of things, that from any fruition of success, no  
 matter what, shall come forth something to make  
 a greater struggle necessary.
54My call is the call of battle—I nourish active rebel- 
He going with me must go well arm'd; He going with me goes often with spare diet, poverty,  
 angry enemies, desertions.


55Allons! the road is before us! It is safe—I have tried it—my own feet have tried it well. 56Allons! be not detain'd! 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  
57Mon enfant! 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 yourself? will you come travel with  
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?



I SIT and look out upon all the sorrows of the world,  
 and upon all oppression and shame;
I hear secret convulsive sobs from young men, at an- 
 guish with themselves, remorseful after deeds  
I see, in low life, the mother misused by her children,  
 dying, neglected, gaunt, desperate;
I see the wife misused by her husband—I see the  
 treacherous seducer of young women;
I mark the ranklings of jealousy and unrequited love,  
 attempted to be hid—I see these sights on the  
I see the workings of battle, pestilence, tyranny—I see  
 martyrs and prisoners;
I observe a famine at sea—I observe the sailors casting  
 lots who shall be kill'd, to preserve the lives of  
 the rest;
I observe the slights and degradations cast by arrogant  
 persons upon laborers, the poor, and upon ne- 
 groes, and the like;
All these—All the meanness and agony without end, I  
 sitting, look out upon,
See, hear, and am silent.


ME imperturbe, standing at ease in Nature, Master of all, or mistress of all—aplomb in the midst  
 of irrational things,
Imbued as they—passive, receptive, silent as they, Finding my occupation, poverty, notoriety, foibles,  
 crimes, less important than I thought;
  [ begin page 190 ]ppp.00270.192.jpg Me private, or public, or menial, or solitary—all these  
 subordinate, (I am eternally equal with the best  
 —I am not subordinate;)
Me toward the Mexican Sea, or in the Mannahatta, or  
 the Tennessee, or far north, or inland,
A river man, or a man of the woods, or of any farm-life  
 of These States, or of the coast, or the lakes, or  
Me, wherever my life is lived, O to be self-balanced for  
O to confront night, storms, hunger, ridicule, accidents,  
 rebuffs, as the trees and animals do.

As I Lay with my Head in your Lap, Camerado.

As I lay with my head in your lap, Camerado, The confession I made I resume—what I said to you  
 and the open air I resume:
I know I am restless, and make others so; I know my words are weapons, full of danger, full of  
(Indeed I am myself the real soldier: It is not he, there, with his bayonet, and not the red- 
 striped artilleryman;)
For I confront peace, security, and all the settled laws,  
 to unsettle them;
I am more resolute because all have denied me, than I  
 could ever have been had all accepted me;
I heed not, and have never heeded, either experience,  
 cautions, majorities, nor ridicule;
And the threat of what is call'd hell is little or nothing  
 to me;
And the lure of what is call'd heaven is little or nothing  
 to me;
…Dear camerado! I confess I have urged you onward  
 with me, and still urge you, without the least  
 idea what is our destination,
Or whether we shall be victorious, or utterly quell'd and  



1FLOOD-TIDE below me! I watch you face to face; Clouds of the west! sun there half an hour high! I see  
 you also face to face.
2Crowds of men and women attired in the usual cos- 
 tumes! how curious you are to me!
On the ferry-boats, the hundreds and hundreds that  
 cross, returning home, are more curious to me  
 than you suppose;
And you that shall cross from shore to shore years  
 hence, are more to me, and more in my medita- 
 tions, than you might suppose.


3The impalpable sustenance of me from all things, at  
 all hours of the day;
The simple, compact, well-join'd scheme—myself disin- 
 tegrated, every one disintegrated, yet part of the  
The similitudes of the past, and those of the future; The glories strung like beads on my smallest sights and  
 hearings—on the walk in the street, and the pas- 
 sage over the river;
The current rushing so swiftly, and swimming with me  
 far away;
  [ begin page 192 ]ppp.00270.194.jpg The others that are to follow me, the ties between me  
 and them;
The certainty of others—the life, love, sight, hearing of  
4Others will enter the gates of the ferry, and cross from  
 shore to shore;
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.


5It avails not, neither time or place—distance avails  
I am with you, you men and women of a generation, or  
 ever so many generations hence;
I project myself—also I return—I am with you, and  
 know how it is.
6Just as you feel when you look on the river and sky,  
 so I felt;
Just as any of you is one of a living crowd, I was one  
 of a crowd;
Just as you are refresh'd by the gladness of the river  
 and the bright flow, I was refresh'd;
Just as you stand and lean on the rail, yet hurry with  
 the swift current, I stood, yet was hurried;
Just as you look on the numberless masts of ships, and  
 the thick-stem'd pipes of steamboats, I look'd.
7I too many and many a time cross'd the river, the sun  
 half an hour high;
  [ begin page 193 ]ppp.00270.195.jpg I watched the Twelfth-month sea-gulls—I saw them  
 high in the air, floating with motionless wings,  
 oscillating their bodies,
I saw how the glistening yellow lit up parts of their  
 bodies, and left the rest in strong shadow,
I saw the slow-wheeling circles, and the gradual edging  
 toward the south.
8I too saw the reflection of the summer sky in the  
Had my eyes dazzled by the shimmering track of beams, Look'd at the fine centrifugal spokes of light round the  
 shape of my head in the sun-lit water,
Look'd on the haze on the hills southward and south- 
Look'd on the vapor as it flew in fleeces tinged with  
Look'd toward the lower bay to notice the arriving  
Saw their approach, saw aboard those that were near me, Saw the white sails of schooners and sloops—saw the  
 ships at anchor,
The sailors at work in the rigging, or out astride the  
The round masts, the swinging motion of the hulls, the  
 slender serpentine pennants,
The large and small steamers in motion, the pilots in  
 their pilot-houses,
The white wake left by the passage, the quick tremulous  
 whirl of the wheels,
The flags of all nations, the falling of them at sun-set, The scallop-edged waves in the twilight, the ladled cups,  
 the frolicsome crests and glistening,
The stretch afar growing dimmer and dimmer, the gray  
 walls of the granite store-houses 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  
9   [ begin page 194 ]ppp.00270.196.jpg Casting their flicker of black, contrasted with wild red  
 and yellow light, over the tops of houses, and  
 down into the clefts of streets.


9These, and all else, were to me the same as they are  
 to you;
I project myself a moment to tell you—also I return.
10I loved well those cities; I loved well the stately and rapid river; The men and women I saw were all near to me; Others the same—others who look back on me, because  
 I look'd forward to them;
(The time will come, though I stop here to-day and to- 


11What is it, then, between us? What is the count of the scores of hundreds of years  
 between us?
12Whatever it is, it avails not—distance avails not, and  
 place avails not.


13I too lived—Brooklyn, of ample hills, was mine; I too walk'd the streets of Manhattan Island, and  
 bathed in the waters around it;
I too felt the curious abrupt questionings stir within  
In the day, among crowds of people, sometimes they  
 came upon me,
In my walks home late at night, or as I lay in my bed,  
 they came upon me.
14I too had been struck from the float forever held in  
I too had receiv'd identity by my Body;   [ begin page 195 ]ppp.00270.197.jpg That I was, I knew was of my body—and what I should  
 be, I knew I should be of my body.


15It is not upon you alone the dark patches fall, The dark threw patches down upon me also; 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? would not people laugh at  
16It is not 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,  
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.


17But I was Manhattanese, friendly and proud! I was call'd by my nighest name by clear loud voices  
 of young men as they saw me approaching or  
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  
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.
  [ begin page 196 ]ppp.00270.198.jpg


18Closer yet I approach you; What thought you have of me, I had as much of you  
 —I laid in my stores in advance;
I consider'd long and seriously of you before you were  
19Who was to know what should come home to me? Who knows but I am enjoying this? Who knows but I am as good as looking at you now,  
 for all you cannot see me?
20It is not you alone, nor I alone; Not a few races, nor a few generations, nor a few cen- 
It is that each came, or comes, or shall come, from its  
 due emission,
From the general centre of all, and forming a part  
 of all:
Everything indicates—the smallest does, and the largest  
A necessary film envelopes all, and envelops the Soul  
 for a proper time.


21Now I am curious what sight can ever be more  
 stately and admirable to me than my mast- 
 hemm'd Manhattan,
My river and sun-set, and my scallop-edg'd waves of  
The sea-gulls oscillating their bodies, the hay-boat in  
 the twilight, and the belated lighter;
Curious 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 I approach;
Curious 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.
22We understand, then, do we not?   [ begin page 197 ]ppp.00270.199.jpg What I promis'd without mentioning it, have you not  
What the study could not teach—what the preaching  
 could not accomplish, is accomplish'd, is it not?
What the push of reading could not start, is started by  
 me personally, is it not?


23Flow on, river! flow with the flood-tide, and ebb with  
 the ebb-tide!
Frolic on, crested and scallop-edg'd waves! Gorgeous clouds of the sun-set! drench with your  
 splendor me, or the men and women generations  
 after me;
Cross from shore to shore, countless crowds of passen- 
Stand up, tall masts of Mannahatta!—stand up, beau- 
 tiful hills of Brooklyn!
Throb, baffled and curious brain! throw out questions  
 and answers!
Suspend here and everywhere, eternal float of solution! Gaze, loving and thirsting eyes, in the house, or street,  
 or public assembly!
Sound out, voices of young men! loudly and musically  
 call me by my nighest name!
Live, old life! play the part that looks back on the  
 actor or actress!
Play the old role, the role that is great or small, ac- 
 cording as one makes it!
Consider, you who peruse me, whether I may not in  
 unknown ways be looking upon you;
Be firm, rail over the river, to support those who lean  
 idly, yet haste with the hasting current;
Fly on, sea-birds! fly sideways, or wheel in large cir- 
 cles high in the air;
Receive the summer sky, you water! and faithfully hold  
 it, till all downcast eyes have time to take it  
 from you;
Diverge, fine spokes of light, from the shape of my  
 head, or any one's head, in the sun-lit water;
  [ begin page 198 ]ppp.00270.200.jpg Come on, ships from the lower bay! pass up or down,  
 white-sail'd schooners, sloops, lighters!
Flaunt away, flags of all nations! be duly lower'd at  
Burn high your fires, foundry chimneys! cast black  
 shadows at nightfall! cast red and yellow light  
 over the tops of the houses;
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  
Keep your places, objects than which none else is more  


24We descend upon you and all things—we arrest you  
We realize the soul only by you, you faithful solids  
 and fluids;
Through you color, form, location, sublimity, ideality; Through you every proof, comparison, and all the sug- 
 gestions and determinations of ourselves.
25You have waited, you always wait, you dumb, beau- 
 tiful ministers! you novices!
We receive you with free sense at last, and are insatiate  
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.
  [ begin page 199 ]ppp.00270.201.jpg



1WITH antecedents; With my fathers and mothers, and the accumulations  
 of past ages;
With all which, had it not been, I would not now be  
 here, as I am:
With Egypt, India, Phenicia, Greece and Rome; With the Kelt, the Scandinavian, the Alb, and the  
With antique maritime ventures,—with laws, artizan- 
 ship, wars and journeys;
With the poet, the skald, the saga, the myth, and the  
With the sale of slaves—with enthusiasts—with the  
 troubadour, the crusader, and the monk;
With those old continents whence we have come to this  
 new continent;
With the fading kingdoms and kings over there; With the fading religions and priests; With the small shores we look back to from our own  
 large and present shores;
With countless years drawing themselves onward, and  
 arrived at these years;
You and Me arrived—America arrived, and making  
 this year;
This year! sending itself ahead countless years to come.


2O but it is not the years—it is I—it is You; We touch all laws, and tally all antecedents; We are the skald, the oracle, the monk, and the knight  
 —we easily include them, and more;
We stand amid time, beginningless and endless—we  
 stand amid evil and good;
All swings around us—there is as much darkness as  
The very sun swings itself and its system of planets  
 around us;
Its sun, and its again, all swing around us.
  [ begin page 200 ]ppp.00270.202.jpg 3As for me, (torn, stormy, even as I, amid these vehe- 
 ment days,)
I have the idea of all, and am all, and believe in all; I believe materialism is true, and spiritualism is true—  
 I reject no part.
4Have I forgotten any part? Come to me, whoever and whatever, till I give you  
5I respect Assyria, China, Teutonia, and the Hebrews; I adopt each theory, myth, god, and demi-god; I see that the old accounts, bibles, genealogies, are true,  
 without exception;
I assert that all past days were what they should have  
And that they could no-how have been better than they  
And that to-day is what it should be—and that Amer- 
 ica is,
And that to-day and America could no-how be better  
 than they are.


6In the name of These States, and in your and my  
 name, the Past,
And in the name of These States, and in your and my  
 name, the Present time.
7I know that the past was great, and the future will be  
And I know that both curiously conjoint in the present  
(For the sake of him I typify—for the common average  
 man's sake—your sake, if you are he;)
And that where I am, or you are, this present day, there  
 is the centre of all days, all races,
And there is the meaning, to us, of all that has ever  
 come of races and days, or ever will come.




1Now list to my morning's romanza—I tell the signs  
 of the Answerer;
To the cities and farms I sing, as they spread in the  
 sunshine before me.
2A young man comes to me bearing a message from  
 his brother;
How shall the young man know the whether and when  
 of his brother?
Tell him to send me the signs.
3And I stand before the young man face to face, and  
 take his right hand in my left hand, and his left  
 hand in my right hand,
And I answer for his brother, and for men, and I an- 
 swer for him that answers for all, and send these  


4Him all wait for—him all yield up to—his word is  
 decisive and final,
Him they accept, in him lave, in him perceive them- 
 selves, as amid light,
Him they immerse, and he immerses them.
  [ begin page 202 ]ppp.00270.204.jpg 5Beautiful 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 what- 
 ever 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 any body.
6He puts things in their attitudes; He puts to-day out of himself, with plasticity and love; He places his own city, times, reminiscences, parents,  
 brothers and sisters, associations, employment,  
 politics, so that the rest never shame them after- 
 ward, nor assume to command them.
7He is the answerer; What can be answer'd he answers—and what cannot be  
 answer'd, he shows how it cannot be answer'd.


8A man is a summons and challenge; (It is vain to skulk—Do you hear that mocking and  
 laughter? Do you hear the ironical echoes?)
9Books, friendships, philosophers, priests, action, plea- 
 sure, pride, beat up and down, seeking to give  
He indicates the satisfaction, and indicates them that  
 beat up and down also.
10Whichever the sex, whatever the season or place, he  
 may go freshly and gently and safely, by day or  
 by night;
  [ begin page 203 ]ppp.00270.205.jpg He has the pass-key of hearts—to Him the response of  
 the prying of hands on the knobs.
11His 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  


12Every existence has its idiom—everything has an  
 idiom and tongue;
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.
13He 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  
14He walks with perfect ease in the Capitol, He walks among the Congress, and one Representative  
 says to another, Here is our equal, appearing and  
15Then 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 fol- 
 low it, or has follow'd it,
No matter what the nation, that he might find his  
 brothers and sisters there,
  [ begin page 204 ]ppp.00270.206.jpg 16The 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.
17Whoever he looks at in the traveler's coffee-house  
 claims him,
The Italian or Frenchman is sure, and the German is  
 sure, and 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.
18The 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 them- 
 selves, they are so grown.


1THE indications, and tally of time; Perfect sanity shows the master among philosophs; Time, always without flaw, 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, immor- 
His insight and power encircle things and the human  
He is the glory and extract thus far, of things, and of  
 the human race.
  [ begin page 205 ]ppp.00270.207.jpg 2The 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  
(Not every century, or every five centuries, has con- 
 tain'd such a day, for all its names.)
3The 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, echo-singer, parlor-singer,  
 love-singer, or something else.
4All this time, and at all times, wait the words of true  
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 poems are the tuft and final applause of  
5Divine 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.
6The sailor and traveler underlie the maker of poems,  
 the answerer;
The builder, geometer, chemist, anatomist, phrenolo- 
 gist, artist—all these underlie the maker of  
 poems, the answerer.
7The words of the true poems give you more than  
They give you to form for yourself, poems, religions,  
 politics, war, peace, behavior, histories, essays,  
 romances, and everything else,
  [ begin page 206 ]ppp.00270.208.jpg They balance ranks, colors, races, creeds, and the  
They do not seek beauty—they are sought, Forever touching them, or close upon them, follows  
 beauty, longing, fain, love-sick.
8They prepare for death—yet are they not the finish,  
 but rather the outset,
They bring none to his or her terminus, or to be con- 
 tent 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.


1POETS to come! orators, singers, musicians to come! Not to-day is to justify me, and answer what I am  
But you, a new brood, native, athletic, continental,  
 greater than before known,
Arouse! Arouse—for you must justify me—you must  
2I myself but write one or two indicative words for the  
I but advance a moment, only to wheel and hurry back  
 in the darkness.
3I am a man who, sauntering along, without fully stop- 
 ping, turns a casual look upon you, and then  
 averts his face,
Leaving it to you to prove and define it, Expecting the main things from you.
  [ begin page 207 ]ppp.00270.209.jpg


I HEAR America singing, the varied carols I hear; Those of mechanics—each one singing his, as it should  
 be, blithe and strong;
The carpenter singing his, as he measures his plank or  
The mason singing his, as he makes ready for work, or  
 leaves off work;
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat—  
 the deck-hand singing on the steamboat deck;
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench—the  
 hatter singing as he stands;
The wood-cutter's song—the ploughboy's, on his way in  
 the morning, or at the noon intermission, or at  
The delicious singing of the mother—or of the young  
 wife at work—or of the girl sewing or washing—  
 Each singing what belongs to her, and to none  
The day what belongs to the day—At night, the party  
 of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing, with open mouths, their strong melodious  
  [ begin page 208 ]ppp.00270.210.jpg


BY the City Dead-House, by the gate, As idly sauntering, wending my way from the clangor, I curious pause—for lo! an outcast form, a poor dead  
 prostitute brought;
Her corpse they deposit unclaim'd—it lies on the damp  
 brick pavement;
The divine woman, her body—I see the Body—I look  
 on it alone,
That house once full of passion and beauty—all else I  
 notice not;
Nor stillness so cold, nor running water from faucet,  
 nor odors morbific impress me;
But the house alone—that wondrous house—that deli- 
 cate fair house—that ruin!
That immortal house, more than all the rows of dwell- 
 ings ever built!
Or white-domed Capitol itself, with majestic figure sur- 
 mounted—or all the old high-spired cathedrals;
That little house alone, more than them all—poor, des- 
 perate house!
Fair, fearful wreck! tenement of a Soul! itself a Soul! Unclaim'd, avoided house! take one breath from my  
 tremulous lips;
Take one tear, dropt aside as I go, for thought of you, Dead house of love; house of madness and sin, crum- 
 bled! crush'd!
House of life—erewhile talking and laughing—but ah,  
 poor house! dead, even then;
Months, years, an echoing, garnish'd house—but dead,  
 dead, dead.


T HROUGH the ample open door of the peaceful country  
A sun-lit pasture field, with cattle and horses feeding; And haze, and vista, and the far horizon, fading away.



1COME closer to me; Push close, my lovers, and take the best I possess! Yield closer and closer, and give me the best you pos- 
2This is unfinished business with me—How is it with  
(I was chill'd with the cold types, cylinder, wet paper  
 between us.)
3Male and Female! I pass so poorly with paper and types, I must pass with  
 the contact of bodies and souls.
4American masses! I do not thank you for liking me as I am, and liking  
 the touch of me—I know that it is good for you  
 to do so.


5This is the carol of occupations; In the labor of engines and trades, and the labor of  
 fields, I find the developments,
And find the eternal meanings.
  [ begin page 210 ]ppp.00270.212.jpg 6Workmen and Workwomen! Were all educations, practical and ornamental, well dis- 
 play'd out of me, what would it amount to?
Were I as the head teacher, charitable proprietor, wise  
 statesman, what would it amount to?
Were I to you as the boss employing and paying you,  
 would that satisfy you?
7The learn'd, virtuous, benevolent, and the usual terms; A man like me, and never the usual terms. 8Neither a servant nor a master am I; I take no sooner a large price than a small price—I will  
 have my own, whoever enjoys me;
I will be even with you, and you shall be even with me.
9If you stand at work in a shop, I stand as nigh as the  
 nighest in the same shop;
If you bestow gifts on your brother or dearest friend, I  
 demand as good as your brother or dearest friend;
If your lover, husband, wife, is welcome by day or night,  
 I must be personally as welcome;
If you become degraded, criminal, ill, then I become so  
 for your sake;
If you remember your foolish and outlaw'd deeds, do  
 you think I cannot remember my own foolish  
 and outlaw'd deeds?
If you carouse at the table, I carouse at the opposite  
 side of the table;
If you meet some stranger in the streets, and love him  
 or her—why I often meet strangers in the street,  
 and love them.
10Why, what have you thought of yourself? Is it you then that thought yourself less? Is it you that thought the President greater than you? Or the rich better off than you? or the educated wiser  
 than you?
11Because you are greasy or pimpled, or that you were  
 once drunk, or a thief,
  [ begin page 211 ]ppp.00270.213.jpg Or diseas'd, or rheumatic, or a prostitute—or are so now; Or from frivolity or impotence, or that you are no  
 scholar, and never saw your name in print,
Do you give in that you are any less immortal?


12Souls of men and women! it is not you I call unseen,  
 unheard, untouchable and untouching;
It is not you I go argue pro and con about, and to  
 settle whether you are alive or no;
I own publicly who you are, if nobody else owns.
13Grown, half-grown, and babe, of this country and  
 every country, in-doors and out-doors, one just  
 as much as the other, I see,
And all else behind or through them.
14The wife—and she is not one jot less than the  
The daughter—and she is just as good as the son; The mother—and she is every bit as much as the  
15Offspring of ignorant and poor, boys apprenticed to  
Young fellows working on farms, and old fellows work- 
 ing on farms,
Sailor-men, merchant-men, coasters, immigrants, All these I see—but nigher and farther the same I  
None shall escape me, and none shall wish to escape  
16I bring what you much need, yet always have, Not money, amours, dress, eating, but as good; I send no agent or medium, offer no representative of  
 value, but offer the value itself.
17There is something that comes home to one now  
 and perpetually;
  [ begin page 212 ]ppp.00270.214.jpg It is not what is printed, preach'd, discussed—it eludes  
 discussion and print;
It is not to be put in a book—it is not in this book; It is for you, whoever you are—it is no farther from  
 you than your hearing and sight are from you;
It is hinted by nearest, commonest, readiest—it is ever  
 provoked by them.
18You may read in many languages, yet read nothing  
 about it;
You may read the President's Message, and read noth- 
 ing about it there;
Nothing in the reports from the State department or  
 Treasury department, or in the daily papers or  
 the weekly papers,
Or in the census or revenue returns, prices current, or  
 any accounts of stock.


19The sun and stars that float in the open air; The apple-shaped earth, and we upon it—surely the  
 drift of them is something grand!
I do not know what it is, except that it is grand, and  
 that it is happiness,
And that the enclosing purport of us here is not a  
 speculation, or bon-mot, or reconnoissance,
And that it is not something which by luck may turn  
 out well for us, and without luck must be a failure  
 for us,
And not something which may yet be retracted in a  
 certain contingency.
20The light and shade, the curious sense of body and  
 identity, the greed that with perfect complais- 
 ance devours all things, the endless pride and  
 out-stretching of man, unspeakable joys and  
The wonder every one sees in every one else he sees,  
 and the wonders that fill each minute of time  
  [ begin page 213 ]ppp.00270.215.jpg What have you reckon'd them for, camerado? Have you reckon'd them for a trade, or farm-work? or  
 for the profits of a store?
Or to achieve yourself a position? or to fill a gentle- 
 man's leisure, or a lady's leisure?
21Have you reckon'd the landscape took substance and  
 form that it might be painted in a picture?
Or men and women that they might be written of, and  
 songs sung?
Or the attraction of gravity, and the great laws and  
 harmonious combinations, and the fluids of the  
 air, as subjects for the savans?
Or the brown land and the blue sea for maps and  
Or the stars to be put in constellations and named  
 fancy names?
Or that the growth of seeds is for agricultural tables,  
 or agriculture itself?
22Old institutions—these arts, libraries, legends, col- 
 lections, and the practice handed along in man- 
 ufactures—will we rate them so high?
Will we rate our cash and business high?—I have no  
I rate them as high as the highest—then a child born  
 of a woman and man I rate beyond all rate.
23We thought our Union grand, and our Constitution  
I do not say they are not grand and good, for they are; I am this day just as much in love with them as you; Then I am in love with you, and with all my fellows  
 upon the earth.
24We consider bibles and religions divine—I do not say  
 they are not divine;
I say they have all grown out of you, and may grow out  
 of you still;
It is not they who give the life—it is you who give the  
  [ begin page 214 ]ppp.00270.216.jpg Leaves are not more shed from the trees, or trees from  
 the earth, than they are shed out of you.


25When the psalm sings instead of the singer; When the script preaches, instead of the preacher; When the pulpit descends and goes, instead of the  
 carver that carved the supporting desk;
When I can touch the body of books, by night or by  
 day, and when they touch my body back again;
When a university course convinces, like a slumbering  
 woman and child convince;
When the minted gold in the vault smiles like the  
 night watchman's daughter;
When warrantee deeds loafe in chairs opposite, and are  
 my friendly companions;
I intend to reach them my hand, and make as much of  
 them as I do of men and women like you.
26The sum of all known reverence I add up in you,  
 whoever you are;
The President is there in the White House for you—it  
 is not you who are here for him;
The Secretaries act in their bureaus for you—not you  
 here for them;
The Congress convenes every Twelfth-month for you; Laws, courts, the forming of States, the charters of  
 cities, the going and coming of commerce and  
 mails, are all for you.
27List close, my scholars dear! All doctrines, all politics and civilization, exurge from  
All sculpture and monuments, and anything inscribed  
 anywhere, are tallied in you;
The gist of histories and statistics as far back as the  
 records reach, is in you this hour, and myths and  
 tales the same;
If you were not breathing and walking here, where  
 would they all be?
  [ begin page 215 ]ppp.00270.217.jpg The most renown'd poems would be ashes, orations and  
 plays would be vacuums.
28All architecture is what you do to it when you look  
 upon it;
(Did you think it was in the white or gray stone? or  
 the lines of the arches and cornices?)
29All music is what awakes from you, when you are  
 reminded by the instruments;
It is not the violins and the cornets—it is not the oboe  
 nor the beating drums, nor the score of the  
 baritone singer singing his sweet romanza—nor  
 that of the men's chorus, nor that of the women's  
It is nearer and farther than they.


30Will the whole come back then? Can each see signs of the best by a look in the looking- 
 glass? is there nothing greater or more?
Does all sit there with you, with the mystic, unseen  
31Strange and hard that paradox true I give; Objects gross and the unseen Soul are one. 32House-building, measuring, sawing the boards; Blacksmithing, glass-blowing, nail-making, coopering,  
 tin-roofing, shingle-dressing,
Ship-joining, dock-building, fish-curing, ferrying, flag- 
 ging of side-walks by flaggers,
The pump, the pile-driver, the great derrick, the coal- 
 kiln and brick-kiln,
Coal-mines, and all that is down there,—the lamps in  
 the darkness, echoes, songs, what meditations,  
 what vast native thoughts looking through  
 smutch'd faces,
  [ begin page 216 ]ppp.00270.218.jpg Iron works, forge-fires in the mountains, or by the  
 river-banks—men around feeling the melt with  
 huge crowbars—lumps of ore, the due combining  
 of ore, limestone, coal—the blast-furnace and the  
 puddling-furnace, the loup-lump at the bottom  
 of the melt at last—the rolling-mill, the stumpy  
 bars of pig-iron, the strong, clean-shaped T-rail  
 for railroads;
Oil-works, silk-works, white-lead-works, the sugar-house,  
 steam-saws, the great mills and factories;
Stone-cutting, shapely trimmings for façades, or window  
 or door-lintels—the mallet, the tooth-chisel, the  
 jib to protect the thumb,
Oakum, the oakum-chisel, the caulking-iron,—the kettle  
 of boiling vault-cement, and the fire under the  
The cotton-bale, the stevedore's hook, the saw and buck  
 of the sawyer, the mould of the moulder, the  
 working-knife of the butcher, the ice-saw, and all  
 the work with ice,
The implements for daguerreotyping—the tools of the  
 rigger, grappler, sail-maker, block-maker,
Goods of gutta-percha, papier-mach, colors, brushes,  
 brush-making, glazier's implements,
The veneer and glue-pot, the confectioner's ornaments,  
 the decanter and glasses, the shears and flat-iron,
The awl and knee-strap, the pint measure and quart  
 measure, the counter and stool, the writing-pen  
 of quill or metal—the making of all sorts of  
 edged tools,
The brewery, brewing, the malt, the vats, every thing  
 that is done by brewers, also by wine-makers,  
 also vinegar-makers,
Leather-dressing, coach-making, boiler-making, rope- 
 twisting, distilling, sign-painting, lime-burning,  
 cotton-picking—electro-plating, electrotyping,  
Stave-machines, planing-machines, reaping-machines,  
 ploughing-machines, thrashing-machines, steam  
  [ begin page 217 ]ppp.00270.219.jpg The cart of the carman, the omnibus, the ponderous  
Pyrotechny, letting off color'd fire-works at night, fancy  
 figures and jets;
Beef on the butcher's stall, the slaughter-house of the  
 butcher, the butcher in his killing-clothes,
The pens of live pork, the killing-hammer, the hog- 
 hook, the scalder's tub, gutting, the cutter's  
 cleaver, the packer's maul, and the plenteous  
 winter-work of pork-packing;
Flour-works, grinding of wheat, rye, maize, rice—the  
 barrels and the half and quarter barrels, the  
 loaded barges, the high piles on wharves and  
The men, and the work of the men, on railroads,  
 coasters, fish-boats, canals;
The daily routine of your own or any man's life—the  
 shop, yard, store, or factory;
These shows all near you by day and night—workman!  
 whoever you are, your daily life!
In that and them the heft of the heaviest—in them far  
 more than you estimated, and far less also;
In them realities for you and me—in them poems for  
 you and me;
In them, not yourself—you and your Soul enclose all  
 things, regardless of estimation;
In them the development good—in them, all themes  
 and hints.
33I do not affirm what you see beyond is futile—I do  
 not advise you to stop;
I do not say leadings you thought great are not great; But I say that none lead to greater, than those lead to.


34Will you seek afar off? you surely come back at  
In things best known to you, finding the best, or as  
 good as the best,
In folks nearest to you finding the sweetest, strongest,  
  [ begin page 218 ]ppp.00270.220.jpg Happiness, knowledge, not in another place, but this  
 place—not for another hour, but this hour;
Man in the first you see or touch—always in friend,  
 brother, nighest neighbor—Woman in mother,  
 lover, wife;
The popular tastes and employments taking precedence  
 in poems or any where,
You workwomen and workmen of These States having  
 your own divine and strong life,
And all else giving place to men and women like you.



OF ownership—As if one fit to own things could not at  
 pleasure enter upon all, and incorporate them  
 into himself or herself.


Of waters, forests, hills; Of the earth at large, whispering through medium of  
Of vista—Suppose some sight in arriere, through the  
 formative chaos, presuming the growth, fulness,  
 life, now attain'd on the journey;
(But I see the road continued, and the journey ever  
—Of what was once lacking on earth, and in due time  
 has become supplied—And of what will yet be  
Because all I see and know, I believe to have purport  
 in what will yet be supplied.



1I WANDER all night in my vision, Stepping with light feet, swiftly and noiselessly step- 
 ping and stopping,
Bending with open eyes over the shut eyes of sleepers, Wandering and confused, lost to myself, ill-assorted,  
Pausing, gazing, bending, and stopping.
2How solemn they look there, stretch'd and still! How quiet they breathe, the little children in their  
3The wretched features of ennuyés, the white features  
 of corpses, the livid faces of drunkards, the sick- 
 gray faces of onanists,
The gash'd bodies on battle-fields, the insane in their  
 strong-door'd rooms, the sacred idiots, the new- 
 born emerging from gates, and the dying emerg- 
 ing from gates,
The night pervades them and infolds them.
4The married couple sleep calmly in their bed—he  
 with his palm on the hip of the wife, and she  
 with her palm on the hip of the husband,
The sisters sleep lovingly side by side in their bed, The men sleep lovingly side by side in theirs, And the mother sleeps, with her little child carefully  
  [ begin page 220 ]ppp.00270.222.jpg 5The blind sleep, and the deaf and dumb sleep, The prisoner sleeps well in the prison—the run-away  
 son sleeps;
The murderer that is to be hung next day—how does  
 he sleep?
And the murder'd person—how does he sleep?
6The female that loves unrequited sleeps, And the male that loves unrequited sleeps, The head of the money-maker that plotted all day  
And the enraged and treacherous dispositions—all, all  


7I stand in the dark with drooping eyes by the worst- 
 suffering and the most restless,
I pass my hands soothingly to and fro a few inches  
 from them,
The restless sink in their beds—they fitfully sleep.
8Now I pierce the darkness—new beings appear, The earth recedes from me into the night, I saw that it was beautiful, and I see that what is not  
 the earth is beautiful.
9I go from bedside to bedside—I sleep close with the  
 other sleepers, each in turn,
I dream in my dream all the dreams of the other dream- 
And I become the other dreamers.


10I am a dance—Play up, there! the fit is whirling me  
11I am the ever-laughing—it is new moon and twi- 
  [ begin page 221 ]ppp.00270.223.jpg I see the hiding of douceurs—I see nimble ghosts  
 whichever way I look,
Cache, and cache again, deep in the ground and sea,  
 and where it is neither ground or sea.
12Well do they do their jobs, those journeymen divine, Only from me can they hide nothing, and would not if  
 they could,
I reckon I am their boss, and they make me a pet  
And surround me and lead me, and run ahead when I  
To lift their cunning covers, to signify me with stretch'd  
 arms, and resume the way;
Onward we move! a gay gang of blackguards! with  
 mirth-shouting music, and wild-flapping pennants  
 of joy!


13I am the actor, the actress, the voter, the politician; The emigrant and the exile, the criminal that stood in  
 the box,
He who has been famous, and he who shall be famous  
 after to-day,
The stammerer, the well-form'd person, the wasted or  
 feeble person.


14I am she who adorn'd herself and folded her hair  
My truant lover has come, and it is dark.
15Double yourself and receive me, darkness! Receive me and my lover too—he will not let me go  
 without him.
16I roll myself upon you, as upon a bed—I resign my- 
 self to the dusk.
  [ begin page 222 ]