See also: [Literature Index]

Walt Whitman

This page is dedicated to all of the English Teachers that I had in school, and to all teachers of poetry, literature, and philosophy. Editor's note: The Leaves of Grass is such a treasure to read, that it makes it all the more difficult to "select" (read, cull, crop, and leave much out). These are just random bits, each person should go and get a copy and read it for themselves. A hundred years hence, 'ologists will argue that (in the same way that William Shakespear could not have written all of those plays), well, you know...
Come, said my Soul Such verses for my Body let us write, (for we are one,) That should I after death invisibly return, Or, long, long hence, in other spheres, There to some group of mates the chants resuming, (Tallying Earth's soil, trees, winds, tumultuous waves,) Ever with pleas'd smile I may keep on, Ever and ever yet the verses owning -- as, first, I here and now Signing for SOuld and Body, set to them my name,
From: Inscriptions

To Foreign Lands

I heard that you ask'd for something to prove this puzzle the New World, And to define America, her atheletic Democracy, Therefore I send you my poems that you behold in them what you wanted.

To a Historian

You who celebrate bygones, Who have explored the outward, the sufaces of the races, the life that has exhibited itself, Who have treated of man as the creature of politices, aggregates, rulers and priests, I, habitan of the Alleghanies, treating of him as he is in himself in his own rights, Pressing the pulse of the life that has seldom exhibited itself, (the great prideof man in himself,) Chanter of Personality, outlining what is yet to be, I project the history of the future.


I met a seer, Passing the hues and objects of the world, The fields of art and learning, pleasure, sense, To glean eidolons. Put in thy chans said he No more the puzzling hour nor day, nor segments, parts, put in, Put first before the rest as light for all and entrance-song of all, That of eidolons. Ever the dim beginning, Ever the growth, the rounding of the circle, Ever the summit and the merge at last, (to surely start again,) Eidolons! Eidolons! Ever the mutable, Ever materials, changing, crumbling, re-cohering, Ever the ateliers, the factories divine, Issuing eidolons. Lo, I or you, Or woman, man, or state, known or unknown, We seeming solid wealth, strength, beauty build, But really build eidolons. The ostent evanescent, The substance of an artist's mood or the savan's studies long, Or warrior's, martyr's, hero's toils, To fashion his eidolon. Of every human life, (The units gather'd, posted, not a thought, emotion, deed, left out,) The whole or large or small summ'd, added up, In its eidolon. The old, old urge, Based on the ancient pinnacles, lo, newer, higher pinnacles, From science and the modern still impell'd The old, old urge, eidolons. The present not and here, America's busy, teeming, intricate whirl, Of aggregate and segregate for only thence releasing, To-day's eidolons. These with the past, Of vanish'd lands, of all the reigns of kings across the sea, Old conquerors, old campaigns, old sailors' voyages, Joining eidolons. Densities, growth, facades, Strata of mountains, soils, rocks, giant trees, Far-born, far-dying, living long, to leave, Eidolons everlasting, Exalte, rapt, ecstatic, The visible but their womb of birth, Of orbic tendencies to shape and shape and shape, The mighty earth-eidolon. All space, all time, (The stars, the terrible perturbations of the suns, Selling, collapsing, ending, serving their longer, shorter use,) Fill with eidolons only. The noisless myriads, The infinite oceans where the rivers empty, The separate countless free identities, like eyesight, The ture realities, eidolons. Not this the world, Nor these the universes, they the universes, Purport and end, ever the permanent life of life, Eidolons, eidolons, Beyond thy lectures learn'd professor, Beyond thy telescope or spectroscope observer keen, beyond all mathematics, Beyond the doctor's surgery, anatomy, beyond the chemist with his chemistry, The entity of entities, eidolons. Unfix'd yet fix'd, Ever shall be, ever have been and are, Sweeping the present to the infinite future, Eidolons, eidolons, eidolons. The prophet and the bard, Shall yet maintain themselves, in higher stages yet, Shall mediate to the Modern, to Democracy, imterpret yet to them, God and eidolons. And thee my soul, Joys, ceaseless exercises, exaltations, Thy yearning amply fed at last, prepared to meet, Thy mates, eilolons. Thy body permanent, The body lurding there within the body, The only purport of the form thou art, the real I myself, An image, an eidolon. The very songs not in thy songs, No special strains to sing, none for itself, But from the whole resulting, rising at last and floating, A round full-orb'd eidolon. Back to the POETRY page To the MUSE's poetry page Back to the m-a-c page

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