Published Works

Books by Whitman

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [begin page 224] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


1IT is ended—I dally no more,
After to-day I inure myself to run, leap, swim,
wrestle, fight,
To stand the cold or heat—to take good aim with a
gun—to sail a boat—to manage horses—to
beget superb children,
To speak readily and clearly—to feel at home among
common people,
And to hold my own in terrible positions, on land
and sea.

2Not for an embroiderer,
(There will always be plenty of embroiderers—I
welcome them also;)
But for the fibre of things, and for inherent men and

3Not to chisel ornaments,
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 ac-
count 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.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [begin page 225] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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 specimens,
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?

10Let others deny the evil their enemies charge against
them—but how can I the like?
Nothing ever has been, or ever can be, charged against
me, half as bad as the evil I really am;
I call to the world to distrust the accounts of my
friends, but listen to my enemies—as I my-
self do;
I charge you, too, forever, reject those who would
expound me—for I cannot expound myself,

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [begin page 226] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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 gymnast, 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.


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.