I Celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
My tongue, every atom of my blood, form’d from this soil,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and
their parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.
Creeds and schools in abeyance,
Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never
I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
Nature without check with original energy.
OF Public Opinion;
Of a calm and cool fiat, sooner or later, (How im–
passive! How certain and final!)
Of the President with pale face asking secretly to
himself, What will the people say at last?
Of the frivolous Judge—Of the corrupt Congressman,
Governor, Mayor—Of such as these, standing
helpless and exposed;
Of the mumbling and screaming priest—(soon, soon
Of the lessening, year by year, of venerableness, and
of the dicta of officers, statutes, pulpits, schools;
Of the rising forever taller and stronger and broader,
of the intuitions of men and women, and of
self-esteem, and of personality;
—Of the New World—Of the Democracies, resplendent,
Of the conformity of politics, armies, navies, to them
and to me,
Of the shining sun by them—Of the inherent light,
greater than the rest,
Of the envelopment of all by them, and of the effusion
of all from them.
WEAVE in! weave in, my hardy life!
Weave, weave a soldier strong and full, for great cam–
paigns to come;
Weave in red blood! weave sinews in, like ropes! the
senses, sight weave in!
Weave lasting sure! weave day and night the weft, the
warp! incessant weave! tire not!
(We know not what the use, O life! nor know the aim,
the end—nor really aught we know;
But know the work, the need goes on, and shall go
on—the death-envelop’d march of peace as well
as war, goes on;)
For great campaigns of peace the same, the wiry
threads to weave;
We know not why or what, yet weave, forever weave.
HE is wisest who has the most caution;
He only wins who goes far enough.
ANY thing is as good as established, when that is estab–
lished that will produce it and continue it.
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 soul and body, set to them my name.
BY the City Dead-House, by the gate,
As idly sauntering, wending my way from the clangor,
I curious pause—for lo! an outcast form, a poor dead
Her corpse they deposit unclaim’d, it lies on the
damp brick pavement;
The divine woman, her body—I see the Body—I look
on it alone,
That house once full of passion and beauty—all else I
Nor stillness so cold, nor running water from faucet,
nor odors morbific impress me;
But the house alone—that wondrous house—that de–
licate fair house—that ruin!
That immortal house, more than all the rows of dwel–
lings ever built!
Or white—domed Capitol itself, with magestic figure sur—
mounted—or all the old high-spired cathedrals,
That little house alone, more than them all—poor,
Fair, fearful wreck! tenement of a Soul! itself a Soul!
Unclaim’d, avoided house! take one breath from my
Take one tear, dropt aside as I go, for thought of you,
Dead house of love! house of madness and sin, crum–
House of life—erewhile talking and laughing—but
ah, poor house! dead, even then;
Months, years, an echoing, garnish’d house—but
dead, dead, dead.
THERE are who teach only the sweet lessons of peace and safety;
But I teach lessons of war and death to those I love,
That they readily meet invasions, when they come.
Lo! Victress on the peaks!
Where thou standest, with mighty brow, regarding the
(The world, O Libertad, that vainly conspired against thee;)
Out of its countless, beleaguering toils, after thwarting
Where thou, dominant, with the dazzling sun around thee,
Towerest now unharm’d, in immortal soundness and bloom—
lo! in this hour supreme,
No poem proud I, chanting, bring to thee—nor mastery’s
But a little book, containing night’s darkness, and blood–
And psalms of the dead.
BATHED in war’s perfume—delicate flag!
O to hear you call the sailors and the soldiers! flag like
a beautiful woman!
O to hear the tramp, tramp, of a million answering men!
O the ships they arm with joy!
O to see you leap and beckon from the tall masts of
O to see you peering down on the sailors on the decks!
Flag like the eyes of women.