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Books by Whitman

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1TO think of it!
To think of time—of all that retrospection!
To think of to-day and the ages continued hence-

2Have you guess'd you yourself would not continue?
Have you dreaded these earth-beetles?
Have you fear'd the future would be nothing to you?

3Is to-day nothing? Is the beginningless past
nothing ?
If the future is nothing, they are just as surely

4To think that the sun rose in the east! that men
and women were flexible, real, alive! that every-
thing was alive!
To think that you and I did not see, feel, think, nor
bear our part!
To think that we are now here, and bear our part !


5Not a day passes—not a minute or second, without
an accouchement!
Not a day passes—not a minute or second, without a

6The dull nights go over, and the dull days also,
The soreness of lying so much in bed goes over,
The physician, after long putting off, gives the silent
and terrible look for an answer,

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The children come hurried and weeping, and the
brothers and sisters are sent for,
Medicines stand unused on the shelf—(the camphor-
smell has long pervaded the rooms,)
The faithful hand of the living does not desert the
hand of the dying,
The twitching lips press lightly on the forehead of the
The breath ceases, and the pulse of the heart ceases,
The corpse stretches on the bed, and the living look
upon it,
It is palpable as the living are palpable.

7The living look upon the corpse with their eye-
But without eye-sight lingers a different living, and
looks curiously on the corpse.


8To think that the rivers will flow, and the snow
fall, and fruits ripen, and act upon others as
upon us now—yet not act upon us!
To think of all these wonders of city and country,
and others taking great interest in them—and
we taking no interest in them!

9To think how eager we are in building our houses!
To think others shall be just as eager, and we quite

10I see one building the house that serves him a few
years, or seventy or eighty years at most,
I see one building the house that serves him longer
than that.

11Slow-moving and black lines creep over the whole
earth—they never cease—they are the burial

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He that was President was buried, and he that is now
President shall surely be buried.


12Cold dash of waves at the ferry-wharf—posh and
ice in the river, half-frozen mud in the streets,
a gray discouraged sky overhead, the short last
daylight of Twelfth-month,
A hearse and stages—other vehicles give place—the
funeral of an old Broadway stage-driver, the
cortege mostly drivers.

13Steady the trot to the cemetery, duly rattles the
death-bell, the gate is pass'd, the new-dug grave
is halted at, the living alight, the hearse un-
The coffin is pass'd out, lower'd and settled, the whip
is laid on the coffin, the earth is swiftly shovel'd
The mound above is flatted with the spades—silence,
A minute, no one moves or speaks—it is done,
He is decently put away—is there anything more ?

14He was a good fellow, free-mouth'd, quick-temper'd,
not bad-looking, able to take his own part,
witty, sensitive to a slight, ready with life or
death for a friend, fond of women, gambled, ate
hearty, drank hearty, had known what it was to
be flush, grew low-spirited toward the last,
sicken'd, was help'd by a contribution, died,
aged forty-one years—and that was his funeral.

15Thumb extended, finger uplifted, apron, cape, gloves,
strap, wet-weather clothes, whip carefully
chosen, boss, spotter, starter, hostler, somebody
loafing on you, you loafing on somebody, head-
way, man before and man behind, good day's
work, bad day's work, pet stock, mean stock,
first out, last out, turning-in at night;

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To think that these are so much and so nigh to other
drivers—and he there takes no interest in


16The markets, the government, the working-man's
wages—to think what account they are through
our nights and days!
To think that other working-men will make just as
great account of them—yet we make little or
no account!

17The vulgar and the refined—what you call sin, and
what you call goodness—to think how wide a
To think the difference will still continue to others,
yet we lie beyond the difference.

18To think how much pleasure there is!
Have you pleasure from looking at the sky? have you
pleasure from poems?
Do you enjoy yourself in the city? or engaged in
business? or planning a nomination and elec-
tion? or with your wife and family?
Or with your mother and sisters? or in womanly
house-work? or the beautiful maternal cares?
These also flow onward to others—you and I flow
But in due time you and I shall take less interest in

19Your farm, profits, crops,—to think how engross'd
you are!
To think there will still be farms, profits, crops—yet
for you, of what avail?


20What will be, will be well—for what is, is well,
To take interest is well, and not to take interest shall
be well.

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21The sky continues beautiful,
The pleasure of men with women shall never be sated,
nor the pleasure of women with men, nor the
pleasure from poems,
The domestic joys, the daily housework or business,
the building of houses—these are not phan-
tasms—they have weight, form, location;
Farms, profits, crops, markets, wages, government,
are none of them phantasms,
The difference between sin and goodness is no de-
The earth is not an echo—man and his life, and all the
things of his life, are well-consider'd.

22You are not thrown to the winds—you gather cer-
tainly and safely around yourself;
Yourself! Yourself! Yourself, forever and ever !


23It is not to diffuse you that you were born of your
mother and father—it is to identify you,
It is not that you should be undecided, but that you
should be decided;
Something long preparing and formless is arrived and
form'd in you,
You are henceforth secure, whatever comes or goes.

24The threads that were spun are gathered, the weft
crosses the warp, the pattern is systematic.

25The preparations have everyone been justified,
The orchestra have sufficiently tuned their instru-
ments—the baton has given the signal.

26The guest that was coming—he waited long, for
reasons—he is now housed,
He is one of those who are beautiful and happy—he
is one of those that to look upon and be with
is enough.

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27The law of the past cannot be eluded,
The law of the present and future cannot be eluded,
The law of the living cannot be eluded—it is eternal,
The law of promotion and transformation cannot be
The law of heroes and good-doers cannot be eluded,
The law of drunkards, informers, mean persons—not
one iota thereof can be eluded.


28Slow moving and black lines go ceaselessly over the
Northerner goes carried, and Southerner goes carried,
and they on the Atlantic side, and they on
the Pacific, and they between, and all through
the Mississippi country, and all over the earth.

29The great masters and kosmos are well as they go
—the heroes and good-doers are well,
The known leaders and inventors, and the rich own-
ers and pious and distinguish'd, may be well,
But there is more account than that—there is strict
account of all.

30The interminable hordes of the ignorant and
wicked are not nothing,
The barbarians of Africa and Asia are not nothing,
The common people of Europe are not nothing—
the American aborigines are not nothing,
The infected in the immigrant hospital are not noth-
ing—the murderer or mean person is not
The perpetual successions of shallow people are not
nothing as they go,
The lowest prostitute is not nothing—the mocker of
religion is not nothing as he goes.

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31I shall go with the rest—we have satisfaction,
I have dream'd that we are not to be changed so
much, nor the law of us changed,
I have dream'd that heroes and good-doers shall be
under the present and past law,
And that murderers, drunkards, liars, shall be under
the present and past law,
For I have dream'd that the law they are under now
is enough.

32And I have dream'd that the satisfaction is not so
much changed, and that there is no life with-
out satisfaction:
What is the earth? what are Body and Soul, without

33I shall go with the rest,
We cannot be stopt at a given point—that is no satis-
To show us a good thing, or a few good things, for a
space of time—that is no satisfaction,
We must have the indestructible breed of the best,
regardless of time.

34If otherwise, all these things came but to ashes of
If maggots and rats ended us, then alarum! for we are
Then indeed suspicion of death.

35Do you suspect death? If I were to suspect death,
I should die now,
Do you think I could walk pleasantly and well-suited
toward annihilation?


36Pleasantly and well-suited I walk,
Whither I walk I cannot define, but I know it is good,

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The whole universe indicates that it is good,
The past and the present indicate that it is good.

37How beautiful and perfect are the animals! How
perfect is my Soul!
How perfect the earth, and the minutest thing upon it!
What is called good is perfect, and what is called bad
is just as perfect,
The vegetables and minerals are all perfect, and the
imponderable fluids are perfect;
Slowly and surely they have pass'd on to this, and
slowly and surely they yet pass on.

38My Soul! if I realize you, I have satisfaction,
Animals and vegetables! if I realize you, I have sat-
Laws of the earth and air! if I realize you, I have

39I cannot define my satisfaction, yet it is so,
I cannot define my life, yet it is so.


40It comes to me now!
I swear I think now that everything without excep-
tion has an eternal Soul!
The trees have, rooted in the ground! the weeds of
the sea have! the animals!

41I swear I think there is nothing but immortality!
That the exquisite scheme is for it, and the nebulous
float is for it, and the cohering is for it;
And all preparation is for it! and identity is for it!
and life and death are altogether for it!


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