Published Works

Books by Whitman

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1I WAS asking for something specific and perfect for
my city,
Whereupon, lo! upsprang the aboriginal name!

2Now 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, hemm'd 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 to-
ward clear skies,
Tides swift and ample, well-loved by me, toward sun-
The flowing sea-currents, the little islands, larger ad-
joining islands, the heights, the villas,
The countless masts, the white shore-steamers, the light-
ers, the ferry-boats, the black sea-steamers, well-
The down-town streets, the jobbers' houses of business
—the houses of business of the ship-merchants,
and money-brokers—the river-streets;
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-form'd,
beautiful-faced, looking you straight in the eyes;
Trottoirs throng'd—vehicles—Broadway—the women—
the shops and shows,

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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!


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