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Leaves of Grass 2

Part of the cluster LEAVES OF GRASS.


1 MYSELF and mine gymnastic ever, To stand the cold or heat—to take good aim with a  
 gun—to sail a boat—to manage horses—to be- 
 get superb children,
To speak readily and clearly—to feel at home among  
 common people,
And to hold our own in terrible positions, on land  
 and sea.
2Not for an embroiderer; (There will always be plenty of embroiderers—I wel- 
 come them also;)
But for the fibre of things, and for inherent men and  
3Not to chisel ornaments,   [ begin page 162 ]ppp.00473.162.jpg But to chisel with free stroke the heads and limbs of  
 plenteous Supreme Gods, that The States may  
 realize them, walking and talking.
4Let me have my own way; Let others promulge the laws—I will make no account  
 of the laws;
Let others praise eminent men and hold up peace—  
 I hold up agitation and conflict;
I praise no eminent man—I rebuke to his face the one  
 that was thought most worthy.
5(Who are you? you mean devil! And what are you  
 secretly guilty of, all your life?
Will you turn aside all your life? Will you grub and  
 chatter all your life?)
6(And who are you—blabbing by rote, years, pages, 
 languages, reminiscences,
Unwitting to-day that you do not know how to speak  
 a single word?)
7Let others finish specimens—I never finish speci- 
I shower them by exhaustless laws, as nature does, 
 fresh and modern continually.
8I give nothing as duties; What others give as duties, I give as living impulses; (Shall I give the heart's action as a duty?) 9Let others dispose of questions—I dispose of noth- 
 ing—I arouse unanswerable questions;
Who are they I see and touch, and what about them? What about these likes of myself, that draw me so close  
 by tender directions and indirections?
10I call to the world to distrust the accounts of my  
 friends, but listen to my enemies—as I myself do;
  [ begin page 163 ]ppp.00473.163.jpg I charge you, too, forever, reject those who would ex- 
 pound me—for I cannot expound myself;
I charge that there be no theory or school founded out  
 of me;
I charge you to leave all free, as I have left all free.
11After me, vista! O, I see life is not short, but immeasurably long; I henceforth tread the world, chaste, temperate, an  
 early riser, a steady grower,
Every hour the semen of centuries—and still of cen- 
12I will follow up these continual lessons of the air, 
 water, earth;
I perceive I have no time to lose.

Part of the cluster LEAVES OF GRASS.

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