American Poet, Journalist and Essayist
Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman
American Poet, Journalist and Essayist
This is thy hour o soul, thy free flight into the wordless, away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done, thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou lovest best, night, sleep, death and the stars.
To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle, every cubic inch of space is a miracle, every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same.
Was seiz'd by the spirit that trails in the lines underfoot, the rim, the sediment that stands for all the water and all the land of the globe. Fascinated, my eyes reverting from the south, dropt, to follow those slender windrows, chaff, straw, splinters of wood, weeds, and the sea-gluten, scum, scales from shining rocks, leaves of salt-lettuce, left by the tide.
The habit of giving only enhances the desire to give.
The purpose of democracy… is, through many transmigrations, and amid endless ridicules, arguments and ostensible failure, to illustrate, at all hazards, this doctrine or theory that man, properly train’d in sanest, highest freedom, may and must become a law, and series of laws, unto himself.
There shall be love between the poet and the man of demonstrable science. In the beauty of poems are the tuft and final applause of science.
This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body. . . . The poet shall not spend his time in unneeded work. He shall know that the ground is always ready ploughed and manured… others may not know it but he shall. He shall go directly to the creation. His trust shall master the trust of everything he touches . . . . and shall master all attachment.
To me, every hour of the day and night is an unspeakably perfect miracle.
We Americans have yet to really learn our own antecedents, and sort them, to unify them. They will be found ampler than has been supposed, and in widely different sources. Thus far, impress'd by New England writers and schoolmasters, we tacitly abandon ourselves to the notion that our United States has been fashion'd from the British Islands only, and essentially form a second England only — which is a very great mistake.
The jour printer with gray head and gaunt jaws works at his case, he turns his quid of tobacco, while his eyes blur with the manuscript.
The real artist is in humanity. What are called bad manners are often the most picturesque and significant of them all.
There was a child went forth every day, and the first object he look'd upon, that object he became, and that object became part of him for the day or a certain part of the day, or for many years or stretching cycles of years. The early lilacs became part of this child, and grass and white and red morning glories, and white and red clover, and the song of the phoebe-bird, and the Third-month Lambs and the sow's pink-faint litter, and the mare's foal and the cow's calf.
Thou born to match the gale, (thou art all wings,) to cope with heaven and earth and sea and hurricane.
To the drum-taps prompt the young men falling in and arming; the mechanics arming, (the trowel, the jack-plane, the blacksmith's hammer, tost aside with precipitation;) the lawyer leaving his office, and arming—the judge leaving the court; the driver deserting his wagon in the street, jumping down, throwing the reins abruptly down on the horses' backs; the salesman leaving the store—the boss, book-keeper, porter, all leaving.
We consider bibles and religions divine – I do not say they are not divine, I say they have all grown out of you, and may grow out of you still. It is not they who give the life, it is you who give the life.
The last scud of day holds back for me, It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadow'd wilds, it coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk. I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun, I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags. I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love, If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles. You will hardly know who I am or what I mean, but I shall be good health to your nevertheless, and filter and fibre your blood. Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged, missing me one place, search another, I stop somewhere waiting for you.
The young men float on their backs, their white bellies bulge to the sun, they do not ask who seizes fast to them, they do not know who puffs and declines with pendant and bending arch, they do not think whom they souse with spray.
There was never any more inception than there is now, nor any more youth or age than there is now; and will never be any more perfection than there is now, nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.
Thou who hast slept all night upon the storm, waking renew'd on thy prodigious pinions.
To the States or any one of them, or any city of the States, Resist much, obey little, once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved, once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city of this earth, ever after-ward resumes its liberty.
We convince by our presence.
The cleanest expression is that which finds no sphere worthy of itself and makes one.