Published Works

Books by Whitman

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [begin page 404] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



I WAS asking for something specific and perfect for
my city, and behold! here is the aboriginal
Now I see what there is in a name, a word, liquid,
sane, unruly, musical, self-sufficient,
I see that the word of my city, is that word up there,
Because I see that word nested in nests of water-bays,
superb, with tall and wonderful spires,
Rich, hemmed thick all around with sailships and
steamships—an island sixteen miles long, solid-
Numberless crowded streets—high growths of iron,
slender, strong, light, splendidly uprising toward
clear skies;
Tides swift and ample, well-loved by me, toward sun-
The flowing sea-currents, the little islands, the larger
adjoining islands, the heights, the villas,
The countless masts, the white shore-steamers, the
lighters, the ferry-boats, the black sea-steamers,
The down-town streets, the jobbers' houses of business
—the houses of business of the ship-merchants,
and money-brokers—the river-streets,

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [begin page 405] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Immigrants arriving, fifteen or twenty thousand in a
The carts hauling goods—the manly race of drivers
of horses—the brown-faced sailors,
The summer-air, the bright sun shining, and the sail-
ing clouds aloft,
The winter snows, the sleigh-bells—the broken ice in
the river, passing along, up or down, with the
flood-tide or ebb-tide;
The mechanics of the city, the masters, well-formed,
beautiful-faced, looking you straight in the eyes;
Trottoirs thronged—vehicles—Broadway—the wo-
men—the shops and shows,
The parades, processions, bugles playing, flags flying,
drums beating;
A million people—manners free and superb—open
voices—hospitality—the most courageous and
friendly young men;
The free city! no slaves! no owners of slaves!
The beautiful city! the city of hurried and sparkling
waters! the city of spires and masts!
The city nested in bays! my city!
The city of such women, I am mad to be with them!
I will return after death to be with them!
The city of such young men, I swear I cannot live
happy, without I often go talk, walk, eat, drink,
sleep, with them!


Published Works | In Whitman's Hand | Life & Letters | Commentary | Resources | Pictures & Sound

Support the Archive | About the Archive

Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Matt Cohen, Ed Folsom, & Kenneth M. Price, editors.