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About this Item

Title: Virginia—The West

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: February 1872

Whitman Archive ID: per.00144

Source: Kansas Magazine 1 (March 1872): 219. Our transcription is based on a digital image 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, April Lambert, and Susan Belasco

image 1



The noble sire, fallen on evil days,
I saw, with hand uplifted, menacing, brandishing,
(Memories of old in abeyance—love and faith in abeyance,)
The insane knife toward the Mother of All.


The noble son, on sinewy feet advancing,
I saw—out of the land of prairies—land of Ohio's waters, and of Indiana,
To the rescue, the stalwart giant, hurry his plenteous offspring,
Drest in blue, bearing their trusty rifles on their shoulders.


Then the Mother of All, with calm voice speaking,
As to you, Virginia, (I seemed to hear her say,) why strive against me—and why seek my life?
When you yourself forever provide to defend me?
For you provided me Washington—and now these also.


1. Reprinted in As A Strong Bird on Pinions Free (1872). [back]


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