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Leaves of Grass 5

Part of the cluster LEAVES OF GRASS.


1ALL day I have walked the city, and talked with my  
 friends, and thought of prudence,
Of time, space, reality—of such as these, and abreast  
 with them, prudence.
2After all, the last explanation remains to be made  
 about prudence,
Little and large alike drop quietly aside from the  
 prudence that suits immortality.
3The Soul is of itself, All verges to it—all has reference to what ensues, All that a person does, says, thinks, is of conse- 
Not a move can a man or woman make, that affects  
 him or her in a day, month, any part of the  
 direct life-time, or the hour of death, but the  
 same affects him or her onward afterward  
 through the indirect life-time.
  [ begin page 212 ]ppp.01500.220.jpg 4The indirect is more than the direct, The spirit receives from the body just as much as it  
 gives to the body, if not more.
5Not one word or deed—not venereal sore, discolor- 
 ation, privacy of the onanist, putridity of gluttons  
 or rum-drinkers, peculation, cunning, betrayal,  
 murder, seduction, prostitution, but has results  
 beyond death, as really as before death.
6Charity and personal force are the only investments  
 worth anything.
7No specification is necessary—all that a male or  
 female does, that is vigorous, benevolent, clean,  
 is so much profit to him or her, in the unshakable  
 order of the universe, and through the whole  
 scope of it forever.
8Who has been wise, receives interest, Savage, felon, President, judge, farmer, sailor, me- 
 chanic, young, old, it is the same,
The interest will come round—all will come round.
9Singly, wholly, to affect now, affected their time, will  
 forever affect, all of the past, and all of the  
 present, and all of the future,
All the brave actions of war and peace, All help given to relatives, strangers, the poor, old,  
 sorrowful, young children, widows, the sick, and  
 to shunned persons,
All furtherance of fugitives, and of the escape of  
  [ begin page 213 ]ppp.01500.221.jpg All self-denial that stood steady and aloof on wrecks,  
 and saw others fill the seats of the boats,
All offering of substance or life for the good old cause,  
 or for a friend's sake, or opinion's sake,
All pains of enthusiasts, scoffed at by their neighbors, All the limitless sweet love and precious suffering of  
All honest men baffled in strifes recorded or unre- 
All the grandeur and good of ancient nations whose  
 fragments we inherit,
All the good of the hundreds of ancient nations un- 
 known to us by name, date, location,
All that was ever manfully begun, whether it suc- 
 ceeded or no,
All suggestions of the divine mind of man, or the  
 divinity of his mouth, or the shaping of his great  
All that is well thought or said this day on any part  
 of the globe—or on any of the wandering stars,  
 or on any of the fixed stars, by those there as we  
 are here,
All that is henceforth to be thought or done by you,  
 whoever you are, or by any one,
These inure, have inured, shall inure, to the identities  
 from which they sprang, or shall spring.
10Did you guess anything lived only its moment? The world does not so exist—no parts palpable or  
 impalpable so exist,
No consummation exists without being from some  
 long previous consummation—and that from  
 some other,
  [ begin page 214 ]ppp.01500.222.jpg Without the farthest conceivable one coming a bit  
 nearer the beginning than any.
11Whatever satisfies Souls is true, Prudence entirely satisfies the craving and glut of  
Itself finally satisfies the Soul, The Soul has that measureless pride which revolts  
 from every lesson but its own.
12Now I give you an inkling, Now I breathe the word of the prudence that walks  
 abreast with time, space, reality,
That answers the pride which refuses every lesson but  
 its own.
13What is prudence, is indivisible, Declines to separate one part of life from every part, Divides not the righteous from the unrighteous, or  
 the living from the dead,
Matches every thought or act by its correlative, Knows no possible forgiveness or deputed atonement, Knows that the young man who composedly perilled  
 his life and lost it, has done exceeding well for  
 himself, without doubt,
That he who never perilled his life, but retains it to  
 old age in riches and ease, has probably achieved  
 nothing for himself worth mentioning;
Knows that only the person has really learned, who  
 has learned to prefer results,
Who favors body and Soul the same, Who perceives the indirect assuredly following the  
Who in his spirit in any emergency whatever neither  
 hurries or avoids death.
  [ begin page 215 ]ppp.01500.223.jpg

Part of the cluster LEAVES OF GRASS.

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