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Books by Whitman

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1GREAT are the myths—I too delight in them,
Great are Adam and Eve—I too look back and
accept them,
Great the risen and fallen nations, and their poets,
women, sages, inventors, rulers, warriors, and

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2Great is Liberty! great is Equality! I am their fol-
Helmsmen of nations, choose your craft! where you
sail, I sail,
Yours is the muscle of life or death—yours is the
perfect science—in you I have absolute faith.

3Great is To-day, and beautiful,
It is good to live in this age—there never was any

4Great are the plunges, throes, triumphs, downfalls of
Great the reformers, with their lapses and screams,
Great the daring and venture of sailors, on new ex-

5Great are Yourself and Myself,
We are just as good and bad as the oldest and young-
est or any,
What the best and worst did, we could do,
What they felt, do not we feel it in ourselves?
What they wished, do we not wish the same?

6Great is Youth—equally great is Old Age—great
are the Day and Night,
Great is Wealth—great is Poverty—great is Ex-
pression—great is Silence.

7Youth, large, lusty, loving—Youth, full of grace,
force, fascination,
Do you know that Old Age may come after you, with
equal grace, force, fascination?

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8Day, full-blown and splendid—Day of the immense
sun, action, ambition, laughter,
The Night follows close, with millions of suns, and
sleep, and restoring darkness.

9Wealth with the flush hand, fine clothes, hospitality,
But then the Soul's wealth, which is candor, knowl-
edge, pride, enfolding love;
(Who goes for men and women showing Poverty
richer than wealth?)

10Expression of speech! in what is written or said, for-
get not that Silence is also expressive,
That anguish as hot as the hottest, and contempt as
cold as the coldest, may be without words,
That the true adoration is likewise without words,
and without kneeling.

11Great is the greatest Nation—the nation of clusters
of equal nations.

12Great is the Earth, and the way it became what it is;
Do you imagine it is stopped at this? the increase
Understand then that it goes as far onward from
this, as this is from the times when it lay in
covering waters and gases, before man had ap-

13Great is the quality of Truth in man,
The quality of truth in man supports itself through
all changes,

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It is inevitably in the man—he and it are in love,
and never leave each other.

14The truth in man is no dictum, it is vital as eye-
If there be any Soul, there is truth—if there be man
or woman, there is truth—if there be physical
or moral, there is truth,
If there be equilibrium or volition, there is truth—
if there be things at all upon the earth, there
is truth.

15O truth of the earth! O truth of things! I am de-
termined to press my way toward you,
Sound your voice! I scale mountains, or dive in the
sea after you.

16Great is Language—it is the mightiest of the sci-
It is the fulness, color, form, diversity of the earth,
and of men and women, and of all qualities
and processes,
It is greater than wealth—it is greater than build-
ings, ships, religions, paintings, music.

17Great is the English speech—what speech is so
great as the English?
Great is the English brood—what brood has so vast
a destiny as the English?
It is the mother of the brood that must rule the earth
with the new rule,
The new rule shall rule as the Soul rules, and as the
love, justice, equality in the Soul, rule.

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18Great is Law—great are the old few landmarks of
the law,
They are the same in all times, and shall not be

19Great are commerce, newspapers, books, free-trade,
railroads, steamers, international mails, tele-
graphs, exchanges.

20Great is Justice!
Justice is not settled by legislators and laws—it is in
the Soul,
It cannot be varied by statues, any more than love,
pride, the attraction of gravity, can,
It is immutable—it does not depend on majorities—
majorities or what not come at last before the
same passionless and exact tribunal.

21For justice are the grand natural lawyers and perfect
judges—it is in their Souls,
It is well assorted—they have not studied for noth-
ing—the great includes the less,
They rule on the highest grounds—they oversee all
eras, states, administrations.

22The perfect judge fears nothing—he could go front
to front before God,
Before the perfect judge all shall stand back—life
and death shall stand back—heaven and hell
shall stand back.

23Great is Goodness!
I do not know what it is, any more than I know what
health is—but I know it is great.

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24Great is Wickedness—I find I often admire it, just as
much as I admire goodness,
Do you call that a paradox? It certainly is a paradox.

25The eternal equilibrium of things is great, and the
eternal overthrow of things is great,
And there is another paradox.

26Great is Life, real and mystical, wherever and whoever,
Great is Death—sure as Life holds all parts together,
Death holds all parts together,
Death has just as much purport as Life has,
Do you enjoy what Life confers? you shall enjoy what
Death confers,
I do not understand the realities of Death, but I know
they are great,
I do not understand the least reality of Life—how then
can I understand the realities of Death?


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