Published Works

Books by Whitman

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3 — Poem of Salutation.

O TAKE my hand, Walt Whitman!
Such gliding wonders! Such sights and
Such joined unended links, each hooked to the
Each answering all, each sharing the earth
with all.

What widens within you, Walt Whitman?
What waves and soils exuding?
What climes? what persons and lands are
Who are the infants? some playing, some slum-
Who are the girls? Who are the married
Who are the three old men going slowly with
their arms about each others' necks?
What rivers are these? What forests and fruits
are these?
What are the mountains called that rise so high
in the mists?

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What myriads of dwellings are they, filled with

Within me latitude widens, longitude lengthens,
Asia, Africa, Europe, are to the east—America is
provided for in the west,
Banding the bulge of the earth winds the hot
Curiously north and south turn the axis-ends;
Within me is the longest day, the sun wheels in
slanting rings, it does not set for months,
Stretched in due time within me the midnight sun
just rises above the horizon, and sinks again;
Within me zones, seas, cataracts, plains, volca-
noes, groups,
Oceanica, Australasia, Polynesia, and the great
West Indian islands.

What do you hear, Walt Whitman?
I 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 the inimitable music of the voices of
I hear the persuasions of lovers,
I hear quick rifle-cracks from the riflemen of East
Tennessee and Kentucky, hunting on hills,

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I hear emulous shouts of Australians, pursuing the
wild horse,
I hear the Spanish dance with castanets, in
the chestnut shade, to the rebeck and
I hear continual echoes from the Thames,
I hear fierce French liberty songs,
I hear of the Italian boat-sculler the musical reci-
tative of old poems,
I hear the Virginia plantation chorus of negroes,
of a harvest night, in the glare of pine
I hear the strong baritone of the 'long-shore-men
of Manahatta—I hear the stevedores unlad-
ing the cargoes, and singing,
I hear the screams of the water-fowl of solitary
northwest 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 sun-down pen-
sively falling on the breast of the black ven-
erable vast mother, the Nile,
I hear the bugles of raft-tenders on the streams
of Canada,
I hear the chirp of the Mexican muleteer, and
the bells of the mule,
I hear the Arab muezzin, calling from the top of
the mosque,

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I hear Christian priests at the altars of their
churches—I hear the responsive base and
I hear the wail of utter despair of the white-
haired Irish grand-parents, when they learn
the death of their grand-son,
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, fastened together with
wrist-chains and ankle-chains,
I hear the entreaties of women tied up for punish-
ment, I hear the sibilant whisk of thongs
through the air,
I hear the appeal of the greatest orator, he that
turns states by the tip of his tongue,
I hear the Hebrew reading his records and
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 ago.

What do you see, Walt Whitman?

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Who are they you salute, and that one after
another salute you?

I see a great round wonder rolling through the
I see diminute farms, hamlets, ruins, grave-yards,
jails, factories, palaces, hovels, huts of barba-
rians, 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 side,
I see the curious silent change of the light and
I see distant lands, as real and near to the
inhabitants of them as my land is to me.

I see plenteous waters,
I see mountain peaks—I see the sierras of
Andes and Alleghanies, I see where they
I see plainly the Himmalehs, Chian Shahs, Al-
tays, Gauts,
I see the Rocky Mountains, and the Peak of
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 Hecla,
I see Vesuvius and Etna—I see the Anahuacs,

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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
I see the vast deserts of Western America,
I see the Libyan, 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-sunned Mediterranean, and from one to
another of its islands,
The inland fresh-tasted seas of North America,
The White Sea, and the sea around Greenland.

I 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 diseases.

I behold the steam-ships of the world,
Some double the Cape of Storms, some Cape
Verde, others Cape Guardafui, Bon, or Baja-

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Others Dondra Head, others pass the Straits of
Sunda, others Cape Lopatka, others Beh-
ring's Straits,
Others Cape Horn, others 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
Others to the comers and goers at Gibraltar or the
Others sternly push their way through the north-
ern winter-packs,
Others descend or ascend the Obi or the Lena,
Others the Niger or the Congo, others the Hoang-
ho and Amoor, others the Indus, the Buram-
pooter and Cambodia,
Others wait at the wharves of Manahatta,
steamed up, ready to start,
Wait swift and swarthy in the ports of Australia,
Wait at Liverpool, Glasgow, Dublin, Marseilles,
Lisbon, Naples, Hamburgh, Bremen, Bor-
deaux, the Hague, Copenhagen,
Wait at Valparaiso, Rio Janeiro, Panama,
Wait at their moorings at Boston, Philadelphia,
Baltimore, Charleston, New Orleans, Galves-
ton, San Francisco.

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I see the tracks of the rail-roads of the earth,
I see them welding state to state, county to
county, city to city, through North America,
I see them in Great Britain, I see them in Eu-
I see them in Asia and in Africa.

I see the electric telegraphs of the earth,
I see the filaments of the news of the wars,
deaths, losses, gains, passions, of my race.

I see the long thick river-stripes of the earth,
I see where the Mississippi flows, I see where
the Columbia flows,
I see the St. Lawrence and the falls of Niagara,
I see the Amazon and the Paraguay,
I see where the Seine flows, and where the
Loire, the Rhone, and the Guadalquivir
I see the windings of the Volga, the Dnieper,
the Oder,
I see the Tuscan going down the Arno, and the
Venetian along the Po,
I see the Greek seaman sailing out of Egina bay.

I see the site of the great old empire of Assyria,
and that of Persia, and that of India,
I see the falling of the Ganges over the high rim
of Saukara.

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I 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 misletoe and vervain,
I see the temples of the deaths of the bodies of
gods, I see the old signifiers,
I 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 Her-
cules, toiled faithfully and long, and then died,
I see the place of the innocent rich life and hap-
less fate of the beautiful nocturnal son, the
full-limbed Bacchus,
I see Kneph, blooming, dressed 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
banished from my true country, I now go
back there, I return to the celestial sphere
where every one goes in his turn.

I see the battle-fields of the earth—grass grows
upon them, and blossoms and corn,
I see the tracks of ancient and modern expedi-

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I see the nameless masonries, venerable messages
of the unknown events, heroes, records of the

I see the places of the sagas,
I see pine-trees and fir-trees torn by northern
I see granite boulders and cliffs, I see green mea-
dows 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 billows, and be refreshed by
storms, immensity, liberty, action.

I see the steppes of Asia,
I see the tumuli of Mongolia, I see the tents of
Kalmucks and Baskirs,
I see the nomadic tribes with herds of oxen and
I see the table-lands notched with ravines, I see
the jungles and deserts,
I see the camel, the wild steed, the bustard, the
fat-tailed sheep, the antelope, and the bur-
rowing wolf.

I see the high-lands of Abyssinia,

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I see flocks of goats feeding, I see the fig-tree,
tamarind, date,
I see fields of teff-wheat, I see the places of
verdure and gold.

I see the Brazilian vaquero,
I see the Bolivian ascending Mount Sorata,
I see the Guacho crossing the plains, I see the
incomparable rider of horses with his lasso
on his arm,
I see over the pampas the pursuit of wild cattle
for their hides.

I see the little and large sea-dots, some inhabited,
some uninhabited;
I see two boats with nets, lying off the shore of
Paumanok, quite still,
I see ten fishermen waiting—they discover now
a thick school of mossbonkers, they drop
the joined seine-ends in the water,
The boats separate, they diverge and row off,
each on its rounding course to the beach,
enclosing the mossbonkers,
The net is drawn in by a windlass by those
who stop ashore,
Some of the fishermen lounge in the boats,
others stand negligently ankle-deep in the
water, poised on strong legs,
The boats are partly drawn up, the water slaps
against them,

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On the sand, in heaps and winrows, well out from
the water, lie the green-backed spotted moss-

I see the despondent red man in the west,
lingering about the banks of Moingo, and
about Lake Pepin,
He has beheld the quail and honey-bee, and
sadly prepared to depart.

I 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
I see the Siberian on his slight-built sledge, drawn
by dogs,
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 Switz-
erland—I mark the long winters and the

I see the cities of the earth, and make myself a
part of them,
I am a real Londoner, Parisian, Viennese,
I am a habitan of St. Petersburgh, Berlin, Con-
I am of Adelaide, Sidney, Melbourne,
I am of Manchester, Bristol, Edinburgh, Limerick,

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I am of Madrid, Cadiz, Barcelona, Oporto, Lyons,
Brussels, Berne, Frankfort, Stuttgart, Turin,
I belong in Moscow, Cracow, Warsaw—or north-
ward in Christiana or Stockholm—or in
some street in Iceland,
I descend upon all those cities, and rise from them

I see vapors exhaling from unexplored coun-
I see the savage types, the bow and arrow, the
poisoned splint, the fetish and the obi.

I see African and Asiatic towns,
I see Algiers, Tripoli, Derne, Mogadore, Timbuc-
too, Monrovia,
I see the swarms of Pekin, Canton, Benares,
Delhi, Calcutta,
I see the Kruman in his hut, and the Dahoman
and Ashantee-man in their huts,
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
intervening sands—I see the caravans toil-
ing onward;
I see Egypt and the Egyptians, I see the pyramids
and obelisks,

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I look on chiselled histories, songs, philosophies,
cut in slabs of sand-stone or granite blocks,
I see at Memphis mummy-pits, containing mum-
mies, embalmed, 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 breast.

I 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, hunch-
backs, lunatics,
I see the pirates, thieves, betrayers, murderers,
slave-makers of the earth,
I see the helpless infants, and the helpless old
men and women.

I 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.

You, inevitable where you are!
You daughter or son of England!

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You free man of Australia! you of Tasmania! you
of Papua! you free woman of the same!
You of the mighty Slavic tribes and empires! you
Russ in Russia!
You dim-descended, black, divine-souled African,
large, fine-headed, nobly-formed, superbly
destined, on equal terms with me!
You Norwegian! Swede! Dane! Icelander! you
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! Bohe-
mian! 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! you Swabian!
Saxon! Wallachian! Bulgarian!
You citizen of Prague! you Roman! Napolitan!
You lithe matador in the arena at Seville!
You mountaineer living lawlessly on the Taurus
or Caucasus!
You Bokh horse-herd watching your mares and
stallions feeding!
You beautiful-bodied Persian, at full speed in the
saddle, shooting arrows to the mark!

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You Chinaman and Chinawoman of China! you
Tartar of Tartary!
You women of the earth, subordinated at your
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
You thoughtful Armenian pondering by some
stream of the Euphrates! you peering amid
the ruins of Nineveh! you ascending Mount
You foot-worn pilgrim welcoming the far-away
sparkle of the minarets of Mecca!
You sheiks along the stretch from Suez to Babel-
mandel, ruling your families and tribes!
You olive-grower tending your fruit on fields off
Nazareth, Damascus, or Lake Tiberias!
You Thibet trader on the wide inland, or bargain-
ing in the shops of Lassa!
You Japanese man or woman! you liver in
Madagascar, Ceylon, Sumatra, Borneo!
All you continentals of Asia, Africa, Europe,
Australia, indifferent of place!
All you on the numberless islands of the archi-
pelagoes of the sea!
And you of centuries hence, when you listen to me!
And you everywhere whom I specify not, but in-
clude just the same!

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I salute you for myself and for America.
Each of us inevitable,
Each of us limitless—each of us with his or her
right upon the earth,
Each of us allowed the eternal purport of the earth,
Each of us here as divinely as any is here.

You Hottentot with clicking palate!
You woolly-haired hordes! you white or black
owners of slaves!
You owned persons dropping sweat-drops or
You felons, deformed persons, idiots!
You human forms with the fathomless ever-
impressive countenances of brutes!
You poor koboo whom the meanest of the rest
look down upon, for all your glimmering
language and spirituality!
You low expiring aborigines of the hills of Utah,
Oregon, California!
You dwarfed Kamskatkan, Greenlander, Lapp!
You Austral negro, naked, red, sooty, with pro-
trusive lip, grovelling, seeking your food!
You Caffre, Berber, Soudanese!
You haggard, uncouth, untutored Bedowee!
You plague-swarms in Madras, Nankin, Kaubul,
You bather bathing in the Ganges!

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You benighted roamer of Amazonia! you Pat-
agonian! you Fegee-man!
You peon of Mexico! you Russian serf! you
quadroon of Carolina, Texas, Tennessee!
I do not refuse you my hand, or prefer others
before you,
I do not say one word against you.

My spirit has passed in compassion and deter-
mination around the whole earth,
I have looked for brothers, sisters, lovers, and
found them ready for me in all lands.

I think I have risen with you, you vapors, and
moved away to distant continents, and fallen
down there, for reasons,
I think I have blown with you, you winds,
I think, you waters, I have fingered every shore
with you,
I think I have run through what any river or strait
of the globe has run through,
I think I have taken my stand on the bases of
peninsulas, and on imbedded rocks.

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,
I find my home wherever there are any homes of


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