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Cluster: Leaves of Grass. (1871)

Table of Contents (1871)

Poems in this cluster



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  

Table of Contents (1871)

Poems in this cluster

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