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About this Item

Title: Young Grimes

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: January 1, 1840

Whitman Archive ID: per.00029

Source: The Long Island Democrat 1 January 1840: [1]. Our transcription is based on a photocopy of a microfilm copy 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 and Susan Belasco


When old Grimes died, he left a son—
The graft of worthy stock;
In deed and word he shows himself
A chip of the old block.
In youth, 't is said, he liked not school—
Of tasks he was no lover;
He wrote sums in a ciphering book,
Which had a pasteboard cover.
Young Grimes ne'er went to see the girls
Before he was fourteen;
Nor smoked, nor swore, for that he knew
Gave Mrs. Grimes much pain.
He never was extravagant
In pleasure, dress, or board;
His Sunday suit was of blue cloth,
At six and eight a yard.
But still there is, to tell the truth,
No stinginess in him;
And in July he wears an old
Straw hat with a broad brim.
No devotee in fashion's train
Is good old Grimes's son;
He sports no cane—no whiskers wears,
Nor lounges o'er the town.
He does not spend more than he earns
In dissipation's round;
But shuns with care those dangerous rooms
Where sin and vice abound.
It now is eight and twenty years
Since young Grimes saw the light;
And no house in the land can show
A fairer, prouder sight.
For there his wife, prudent and chaste,
His mother's age made sweet,
His children trained in virtue's path,
The gazer's eye will meet.
Upon a hill, just off the road
That winds the village side,
His farm house stands, within whose door
Ne'er entered Hate or Pride.
But Plenty and Benevolence
And Happiness are there—
And underneath that lowly roof
Content smiles calm and fair.
Reader, go view the cheerful scene—
By it how poor must prove
The pomp, and tinsel, and parade,
Which pleasure's followers love.
Leave the wide city's noisy din—
The busy haunts of men—
And here enjoy a tranquil life,
Unvexed by guilt or pain.


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