Walt Whitman: The Complete Poems
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In 1855 Walt Whitman published Leaves of Grass, the work that defined him as one of America's most influential voices and that he added to throughout his life. A collection of astonishing originality and intensity, it spoke of politics, sexual emancipation, and what it meant to be an American. From the joyful "Song of Myself" and "I Sing the Body Electric" to the elegiac "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd," Whitman's art fuses oratory, journalism, and song in a vivid celebration of humanity. Containing all Whitman's known poetic work, this edition reprints the final, or "deathbed," edition of Leaves of Grass (1891–92). Earlier versions of many poems are also given, including the 1855 "Song of Myself."
night-roses, radiant, holding his bride by the hand, Hears the infernal call, the death-pledge of the horn. To crossing swords and gray hairs bared to heaven, The clear electric base and baritone of the world, The trombone duo, Libertad forever ! From Spanish chestnut trees’ dense shade, By old and heavy convent walls a wailing song, Song of lost love, the torch of youth and life quench’d in despair, Song of the dying swan, Fernando’s heart is breaking. (90) Awaking from her woes at last
paid – the title is settled beyond recall;) Let every one answer! let those who sleep be waked! let none evade! Must we still go on with our affectations and sneaking? Let me bring this to a close -I pronounce openly for a new distribution of roles; Let that which stood in front go behind! and let that which was behind advance to the front and speak; Let murderers, bigots, fools, unclean persons, offer new propositions! Let the old propositions be postponed! Let faces and theories be
to him – these too are unrhymed poetry. It awaits the gigantic and generous treatment worthy of it The largeness of nature or the nation were monstrous without a corresponding largeness and generosity of the spirit of the citizen. Not nature nor swarming states nor streets and steamships nor prosperous business nor farms nor capital nor learning may suffice for the ideal of man… nor suffice the poet. No reminiscences may suffice either. A live nation can always cut a deep mark and can have the
birds, animals, The consequent meanness of me should I skulk or find myself indecent, while birds and animals never once skulk or find themselves indecent, (40) The great chastity of paternity, to match the great chastity of maternity, The oath of procreation I have sworn, my Adamic and fresh daughters, The greed that eats me day and night with hungry gnaw, till I saturate what shall produce boys to fill my place when I am through, The wholesome relief, repose, content, And this bunch
myself, To sit by the wounded and soothe them, or silently watch the dead;) Years hence of these scenes, of these furious passions, these chances, Of unsurpass’d heroes, (was one side so brave? the other was equally brave;) Now be witness again, paint the mightiest armies of earth, (10) Of those armies so rapid so wondrous that saw you to tell us? What stays with you latest and deepest? of curious panics, Of hard-fought engagements or sieges tremendous what deepest remains? 2 O maidens