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Title: Of That Blithe Throat of Thine

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: January 1885

Whitman Archive ID: per.00009

Source: Harper's Monthly Magazine 70 (January 1885): 264. Our transcription is based on a digital image of an original issue. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the periodical poems, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, April Lambert, Heather Morton, Leslie Ianno, Ramon Guerra, and Susan Belasco

image 1


[More than 83° north—about a good day's steaming distance to the Pole by one of our fast oceaners in clear water—Greely heard the song of a single bird merrily sounding over the desolation.]

OF that blithe throat of thine, from artic bleak and blank,
I'll mind the lesson, solitary bird: let me too welcome chilling drifts,
E'en the profoundest chill, as now—a torpid pulse, a brain unnerv'd,
Old age land-lock'd within its Winter bay—(cold, cold, O cold!)—
These snowy hairs, my feeble arm, my frozen feet;
For them thy faith, thy rule I take, and grave it to the last.
Not Summer's zones alone, not chants of youth, or South's warm tides alone,
But held by sluggish floes, pack'd in the Northern ice, the cumulus of years—
These with gay heart I also sing.


1. Reprinted in the "Sands at Seventy" annex to Leaves of Grass (1888). [back]


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