Published Works

Books by Whitman

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1Now list to my morning's romanza—I tell the signs
of the Answerer;
To the cities and farms I sing, as they spread in the
sunshine before me.

2A young man comes to me bearing a message from
his brother;
How shall the young man know the whether and when
of his brother?
Tell him to send me the signs.

3And I stand before the young man face to face, and
take his right hand in my left hand, and his left
hand in my right hand,
And I answer for his brother, and for men, and I an-
swer for him that answers for all, and send these


4Him all wait for—him all yield up to—his word is
decisive and final,
Him they accept, in him lave, in him perceive them-
selves, as amid light,
Him they immerse, and he immerses them.

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5Beautiful women, the haughtiest nations, laws, the
landscape, people, animals,
The profound earth and its attributes, and the unquiet
ocean, (so tell I my morning's romanza;)
All enjoyments and properties, and money, and what-
ever money will buy,
The best farms—others toiling and planting, and he
unavoidably reaps,
The noblest and costliest cities—others grading and
building, and he domiciles there;
Nothing for any one, but what is for him—near and far
are for him, the ships in the offing,
The perpetual shows and marches on land, are for him,
if they are for any body.

6He puts things in their attitudes;
He puts to-day out of himself, with plasticity and love;
He places his own city, times, reminiscences, parents,
brothers and sisters, associations, employment,
politics, so that the rest never shame them after-
ward, nor assume to command them.

7He is the answerer;
What can be answer'd he answers—and what cannot be
answer'd, he shows how it cannot be answer'd.


8A man is a summons and challenge;
(It is vain to skulk—Do you hear that mocking and
laughter? Do you hear the ironical echoes?)

9Books, friendships, philosophers, priests, action, plea-
sure, pride, beat up and down, seeking to give
He indicates the satisfaction, and indicates them that
beat up and down also.

10Whichever the sex, whatever the season or place, he
may go freshly and gently and safely, by day or
by night;

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He has the pass-key of hearts—to Him the response of
the prying of hands on the knobs.

11His welcome is universal—the flow of beauty is not
more welcome or universal than he is;
The person he favors by day, or sleeps with at night, is


12Every existence has its idiom—everything has an
idiom and tongue;
He resolves all tongues into his own, and bestows it
upon men, and any man translates, and any man
translates himself also;
One part does not counteract another part—he is the
joiner—he sees how they join.

13He says indifferently and alike, How are you, friend?
to the President at his levee,
And he says, Good-day, my brother! to Cudge that hoes
in the sugar-field,
And both understand him, and know that his speech is

14He walks with perfect ease in the Capitol,
He walks among the Congress, and one Representative
says to another, Here is our equal, appearing and

15Then the mechanics take him for a mechanic,
And the soldiers suppose him to be a soldier, and the
sailors that he has follow'd the sea,
And the authors take him for an author, and the artists
for an artist,
And the laborers perceive he could labor with them and
love them;
No matter what the work is, that he is the one to fol-
low it, or has follow'd it,
No matter what the nation, that he might find his
brothers and sisters there,

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16The English believe he comes of their English stock,
A Jew to the Jew he seems—a Russ to the Russ—usual
and near, removed from none.

17Whoever he looks at in the traveler's coffee-house
claims him,
The Italian or Frenchman is sure, and the German is
sure, and the Spaniard is sure, and the island
Cuban is sure;
The engineer, the deck-hand on the great lakes, or on
the Mississippi, or St. Lawrence, or Sacramento,
or Hudson, or Paumanok Sound, claims him.

18The gentleman of perfect blood acknowledges his
perfect blood;
The insulter, the prostitute, the angry person, the
beggar, see themselves in the ways of him—he
strangely transmutes them,
They are not vile any more—they hardly know them-
selves, they are so grown.



1THE indications, and tally of time;
Perfect sanity shows the master among philosophs;
Time, always without flaw, indicates itself in parts;
What always indicates the poet, is the crowd of the
pleasant company of singers, and their words;
The words of the singers are the hours or minutes of
the light or dark—but the words of the maker
of poems are the general light and dark;
The maker of poems settles justice, reality, immor-
His insight and power encircle things and the human
He is the glory and extract thus far, of things, and of
the human race.

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2The singers do not beget—only the POET begets;
The singers are welcom'd, understood, appear often
enough—but rare has the day been, likewise the
spot, of the birth of the maker of poems, the
(Not every century, or every five centuries, has con-
tain'd such a day, for all its names.)

3The singers of successive hours of centuries may have
ostensible names, but the name of each of them
is one of the singers,
The name of each is, eye-singer, ear-singer, head-
singer, sweet-singer, echo-singer, parlor-singer,
love-singer, or something else.

4All this time, and at all times, wait the words of true
The words of true poems do not merely please,
The true poets are not followers of beauty, but the
august masters of beauty;
The greatness of sons is the exuding of the greatness
of mothers and fathers,
The words of poems are the tuft and final applause of

5Divine instinct, breadth of vision, the law of reason,
health, rudeness of body, withdrawnness,
Gayety, sun-tan, air-sweetness—such are some of the
words of poems.

6The sailor and traveler underlie the maker of poems,
the answerer;
The builder, geometer, chemist, anatomist, phrenolo-
gist, artist—all these underlie the maker of
poems, the answerer.

7The words of the true poems give you more than
They give you to form for yourself, poems, religions,
politics, war, peace, behavior, histories, essays,
romances, and everything else,

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They balance ranks, colors, races, creeds, and the
They do not seek beauty—they are sought,
Forever touching them, or close upon them, follows
beauty, longing, fain, love-sick.

8They prepare for death—yet are they not the finish,
but rather the outset,
They bring none to his or her terminus, or to be con-
tent and full;
Whom they take, they take into space, to behold the
birth of stars, to learn one of the meanings,
To launch off with absolute faith—to sweep through the
ceaseless rings, and never be quiet again.



1POETS to come! orators, singers, musicians to come!
Not to-day is to justify me, and answer what I am
But you, a new brood, native, athletic, continental,
greater than before known,
Arouse! Arouse—for you must justify me—you must

2I myself but write one or two indicative words for the
I but advance a moment, only to wheel and hurry back
in the darkness.

3I am a man who, sauntering along, without fully stop-
ping, turns a casual look upon you, and then
averts his face,
Leaving it to you to prove and define it,
Expecting the main things from you.

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I HEAR America singing, the varied carols I hear;
Those of mechanics—each one singing his, as it should
be, blithe and strong;
The carpenter singing his, as he measures his plank or
The mason singing his, as he makes ready for work, or
leaves off work;
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat—
the deck-hand singing on the steamboat deck;
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench—the
hatter singing as he stands;
The wood-cutter's song—the ploughboy's, on his way in
the morning, or at the noon intermission, or at
The delicious singing of the mother—or of the young
wife at work—or of the girl sewing or washing—
Each singing what belongs to her, and to none
The day what belongs to the day—At night, the party
of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing, with open mouths, their strong melodious


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