SONG OF MYSELF. Walt Whitman. 1. I celebrate myself, and sing myself,. And what I assume you shall assume,. For every atom belonging to me as good. Song of Myself. Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, edition. I celebrate myself,. And what I assume you shall assume,. For every atom belonging to me as good. English Lit Lyrical Poetry Byron Taylor Walt Whitman – 'Song of Myself' Analytically, it seems difficult to acutely define what Whitman's intentions were with 'Song.
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Song of Myself ( version). By Walt Whitman. 1. I celebrate myself, and sing myself,. And what I assume you shall assume,. For every atom belonging to me. Walt Whitman () is one of the most famous of American poets, called by some the “father of free verse” for his innovations in rhyme. wrestled with "Song of Myself" as much perhaps for my own enlightenment as tized himself Walt Whitman and soon was to establish a first-name relationship.
I lift the gauze and look a long time, and silently brush away flies with my hand. Be at peace bloody flukes of doubters and sullen mopers,. In Brooklyn, he continued to develop the unique style of poetry that later so astonished Ralph Waldo Emerson. Belonging to the winders of the circuit of circuits. Drinking mead from the skull-cup, to Shastas and Vedas admirant, minding the Koran,.
Overcome by the suffering of the many wounded in Washington, Whitman decided to stay and work in the hospitals; he ended up staying in the city for eleven years. After Harlan fired him, he went on to work in the attorney general's office. In , Whitman suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed. Osgood , which brought him enough money to buy a home in Camden. After his death on March 26, , Whitman was buried in a tomb he designed and had built on a lot in Harleigh Cemetery.
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, this air, 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 forgotten, I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard, Nature without check with original energy. XXIV for Barbara at Devizes And suddenly you was talking trees fall black with birds behind the hill and green as grass fly off into the sun o blinding girl the whole cathedral crash at your back XXV Not.
Leave this field blank. Leaves of Grass. IndieBound Worldcat. I Celebrate myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. This poem is in the public domain. His repetition transmits as more childlike than analytical, and the personification feels more a laboured extension of his self-inversion, than an inventive and vivid flourish.
However self-consumed his intentions appear, it is clear that he is learning the need to enlarge his motifs beyond himself , and to become covetous towards the world he has claimed such love for: The oratory aspect has deflated to breathlessness: There is arguably no stranger extract in the poem, or one that shudders on the page with more sinister ambiguity.
It comes and goes, buried at the end of an exceptionally long stanza, with no explanation or further reference. There is no familiarity with the characters mentioned, other than their function in relation to Whitman, who is here serving his omniscient tone to infiltrate darker circumstances than before, with an unblinking, nightmarish speed in the rigidity of his repetition: What he did not realise, was that the break from traditional poetic form, occasionally allowed for insights into the poet he could not predict or contrive, wherein more valuable glimpses of his psyche shine through.
Related Papers. Walt Whitman and Australia. By Guillaume Goyetche. Barbaric Poetry? And a compend of compends is the meat of a man or woman,. And a summit and flower there is the feeling they have for each other,. And they are to branch boundlessly out of that lesson until it becomes omnific,. And until one and all shall delight us, and we them. I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars,. And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg of the wren,.
And the running blackberry would adorn the parlors of heaven,. And the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all machinery,. And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels. I find I incorporate gneiss, coal, long-threaded moss, fruits, grains, esculent roots,. And have distanced what is behind me for good reasons,. But call any thing back again when I desire it. In vain the plutonic rocks send their old heat against my approach,. In vain objects stand leagues off and assume manifold shapes,.
In vain the ocean settling in hollows and the great monsters lying low,. In vain the buzzard houses herself with the sky,. In vain the snake slides through the creepers and logs,. In vain the elk takes to the inner passes of the woods,. I follow quickly, I ascend to the nest in the fissure of the cliff. They do not sweat and whine about their condition,.
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,. They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,. Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,. Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,. Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth. So they show their relations to me and I accept them,.
They bring me tokens of myself, they evince them plainly in their possession. Did I pass that way huge times ago and negligently drop them? Myself moving forward then and now and forever,. Gathering and showing more always and with velocity,. Infinite and omnigenous, and the like of these among them,. Not too exclusive toward the reachers of my remembrancers,. Picking out here one that I love, and now go with him on brotherly terms.
A gigantic beauty of a stallion, fresh and responsive to my caresses,. Head high in the forehead, wide between the ears,. Limbs glossy and supple, tail dusting the ground,. Eyes full of sparkling wickedness, ears finely cut, flexibly moving. His nostrils dilate as my heels embrace him,. His well-built limbs tremble with pleasure as we race around and return. I but use you a minute, then I resign you, stallion,. Why do I need your paces when I myself out-gallop them?
Even as I stand or sit passing faster than you. Space and Time! My ties and ballasts leave me, my elbows rest in sea-gaps,. I skirt sierras, my palms cover continents,. Along the ruts of the turnpike, along the dry gulch and rivulet bed,. Weeding my onion-patch or hoeing rows of carrots and parsnips, crossing savannas, trailing in forests,.
Prospecting, gold-digging, girdling the trees of a new purchase,. Where the panther walks to and fro on a limb overhead, where the buck turns furiously at the hunter,. Where the rattlesnake suns his flabby length on a rock, where the otter is feeding on fish,.
Where the alligator in his tough pimples sleeps by the bayou,. Where the black bear is searching for roots or honey, where the beaver pats the mud with his paddle-shaped tail;.
Over the white and brown buckwheat, a hummer and buzzer there with the rest,. Over the dusky green of the rye as it ripples and shades in the breeze;. Scaling mountains, pulling myself cautiously up, holding on by low scragged limbs,. Walking the path worn in the grass and beat through the leaves of the brush,. Where the quail is whistling betwixt the woods and the wheat-lot,. Where the bat flies in the Seventh-month eve, where the great gold-bug drops through the dark,.
Where the brook puts out of the roots of the old tree and flows to the meadow,. Where cattle stand and shake away flies with the tremulous shuddering of their hides,. Where the cheese-cloth hangs in the kitchen, where andirons straddle the hearth-slab, where cobwebs fall in festoons from the rafters;.
Where trip-hammers crash, where the press is whirling its cylinders,. Wherever the human heart beats with terrible throes under its ribs,. Where the pear-shaped balloon is floating aloft, floating in it myself and looking composedly down,. Where the life-car is drawn on the slip-noose, where the heat hatches pale-green eggs in the dented sand,.
Where the she-whale swims with her calf and never forsakes it,. Where the steam-ship trails hind-ways its long pennant of smoke,. Where the fin of the shark cuts like a black chip out of the water,. Where shells grow to her slimy deck, where the dead are corrupting below;. Approaching Manhattan up by the long-stretching island,. Under Niagara, the cataract falling like a veil over my countenance,. Upon a door-step, upon the horse-block of hard wood outside,. Upon the race-course, or enjoying picnics or jigs or a good game of base-ball,.
At he-festivals, with blackguard gibes, ironical license, bull-dances, drinking, laughter,. At the cider-mill tasting the sweets of the brown mash, sucking the juice through a straw,. At apple-peelings wanting kisses for all the red fruit I find,. At musters, beach-parties, friendly bees, huskings, house-raisings;. Where the mocking-bird sounds his delicious gurgles, cackles, screams, weeps,.
Where the bull advances to do his masculine work, where the stud to the mare, where the cock is treading the hen,. Where the heifers browse, where geese nip their food with short jerks,. Where sun-down shadows lengthen over the limitless and lonesome prairie,. Where herds of buffalo make a crawling spread of the square miles far and near,.
Where the humming-bird shimmers, where the neck of the long-lived swan is curving and winding,. Where the laughing-gull scoots by the shore, where she laughs her near-human laugh,. Where bee-hives range on a gray bench in the garden half hid by the high weeds,. Where winter wolves bark amid wastes of snow and icicled trees,. Where the splash of swimmers and divers cools the warm noon,. Where the katy-did works her chromatic reed on the walnut-tree over the well,.
Through patches of citrons and cucumbers with silver-wired leaves,. Through the salt-lick or orange glade, or under conical firs,. Looking in at the shop-windows of Broadway the whole forenoon, flatting the flesh of my nose on the thick plate glass,.
My right and left arms round the sides of two friends, and I in the middle;. By the cot in the hospital reaching lemonade to a feverish patient,.
Voyaging to every port to dicker and adventure,. Hurrying with the modern crowd as eager and fickle as any,. Hot toward one I hate, ready in my madness to knife him,. Solitary at midnight in my back yard, my thoughts gone from me a long while,. Speeding through space, speeding through heaven and the stars,. Speeding amid the seven satellites and the broad ring, and the diameter of eighty thousand miles,.
Carrying the crescent child that carries its own full mother in its belly,. Storming, enjoying, planning, loving, cautioning,. Backing and filling, appearing and disappearing,. I visit the orchards of spheres and look at the product,. I fly those flights of a fluid and swallowing soul,. My course runs below the soundings of plummets.
No guard can shut me off, no law prevent me. My messengers continually cruise away or bring their returns to me. I go hunting polar furs and the seal, leaping chasms with a pike-pointed staff, clinging to topples of brittle and blue. We sail the arctic sea, it is plenty light enough,. Through the clear atmosphere I stretch around on the wonderful beauty,.
The enormous masses of ice pass me and I pass them, the scenery is plain in all directions,. The white-topt mountains show in the distance, I fling out my fancies toward them,. We are approaching some great battle-field in which we are soon to be engaged,. We pass the colossal outposts of the encampment, we pass with still feet and caution,. The blocks and fallen architecture more than all the living cities of the globe.
I am a free companion, I bivouac by invading watchfires,. I turn the bridegroom out of bed and stay with the bride myself,. I tighten her all night to my thighs and lips. The courage of present times and all times,. How the skipper saw the crowded and rudderless wreck of the steam-ship, and Death chasing it up and down the storm,. How he knuckled tight and gave not back an inch, and was faithful of days and faithful of nights,.
All this I swallow, it tastes good, I like it well, it becomes mine,. The twinges that sting like needles his legs and neck, the murderous buckshot and the bullets,.
I am the hounded slave, I wince at the bite of the dogs,. Hell and despair are upon me, crack and again crack the marksmen,. The riders spur their unwilling horses, haul close,. Taunt my dizzy ears and beat me violently over the head with whip-stocks. I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person,.
My hurts turn livid upon me as I lean on a cane and observe.
Heat and smoke I inspired, I heard the yelling shouts of my comrades,. I heard the distant click of their picks and shovels,. I lie in the night air in my red shirt, the pervading hush is for my sake,.
Painless after all I lie exhausted but not so unhappy,. White and beautiful are the faces around me, the heads are bared of their fire-caps,. The kneeling crowd fades with the light of the torches. They show as the dial or move as the hands of me, I am the clock myself. Again to my listening ears the cannon responsive. The ambulanza slowly passing trailing its red drip,.
Workmen searching after damages, making indispensable repairs,. The fall of grenades through the rent roof, the fan-shaped explosion,. The whizz of limbs, heads, stone, wood, iron, high in the air. Again gurgles the mouth of my dying general, he furiously waves with his hand,. He gasps through the clot Mind not me—mind—the entrenchments. Now I tell what I knew in Texas in my early youth,. The hundred and fifty are dumb yet at Alamo,.
Their colonel was wounded and their ammunition gone,. They were the glory of the race of rangers,. Matchless with horse, rifle, song, supper, courtship,. Large, turbulent, generous, handsome, proud, and affectionate,. Bearded, sunburnt, drest in the free costume of hunters,. The second First-day morning they were brought out in squads and massacred, it was beautiful early summer,. Some made a mad and helpless rush, some stood stark and straight,. A few fell at once, shot in the temple or heart, the living and dead lay together,.
That is the tale of the murder of the four hundred and twelve young men. Would you learn who won by the light of the moon and stars? Our foe was no skulk in his ship I tell you, said he,. His was the surly English pluck, and there is no tougher or truer, and never was, and never will be;. On our lower-gun-deck two large pieces had burst at the first fire, killing all around and blowing up overhead.
The master-at-arms loosing the prisoners confined in the after-hold to give them a chance for themselves. The transit to and from the magazine is now stopt by the sentinels,. They see so many strange faces they do not know whom to trust. If our colors are struck and the fighting done? Now I laugh content, for I hear the voice of my little captain,. We have not struck, he composedly cries, we have just begun our part of the fighting. The tops alone second the fire of this little battery, especially the main-top,.
They hold out bravely during the whole of the action. The leaks gain fast on the pumps, the fire eats toward the powder-magazine. One of the pumps has been shot away, it is generally thought we are sinking. He is not hurried, his voice is neither high nor low,. His eyes give more light to us than our battle-lanterns.
Toward twelve there in the beams of the moon they surrender to us. Two great hulls motionless on the breast of the darkness,. The captain on the quarter-deck coldly giving his orders through a countenance white as a sheet,. The flames spite of all that can be done flickering aloft and below,. The husky voices of the two or three officers yet fit for duty,.
Formless stacks of bodies and bodies by themselves, dabs of flesh upon the masts and spars,. Cut of cordage, dangle of rigging, slight shock of the soothe of waves,. Black and impassive guns, litter of powder-parcels, strong scent,. A few large stars overhead, silent and mournful shining,. Delicate sniffs of sea-breeze, smells of sedgy grass and fields by the shore, death-messages given in charge to survivors,.
Wheeze, cluck, swash of falling blood, short wild scream, and long, dull, tapering groan,. You laggards there on guard! See myself in prison shaped like another man,. For me the keepers of convicts shoulder their carbines and keep watch,. I am less the jolly one there, and more the silent one with sweat on my twitching lips. Not a youngster is taken for larceny but I go up too, and am tried and sentenced.
Not a cholera patient lies at the last gasp but I also lie at the last gasp,. Askers embody themselves in me and I am embodied in them,. I project my hat, sit shame-faced, and beg. I discover myself on the verge of a usual mistake.
That I could forget the mockers and insults! That I could forget the trickling tears and the blows of the bludgeons and hammers! That I could look with a separate look on my own crucifixion and bloody crowning. The grave of rock multiplies what has been confided to it, or to any graves,.
Corpses rise, gashes heal, fastenings roll from me. Inland and sea-coast we go, and pass all boundary lines,. Our swift ordinances on their way over the whole earth,. The blossoms we wear in our hats the growth of thousands of years. Continue your annotations, continue your questionings. The friendly and flowing savage, who is he? Is he waiting for civilization, or past it and mastering it?
Is he from the Mississippi country? Iowa, Oregon, California? The mountains? Wherever he goes men and women accept and desire him,. They desire he should like them, touch them, speak to them, stay with them. Slow-stepping feet, common features, common modes and emanations,. They descend in new forms from the tips of his fingers,. They are wafted with the odor of his body or breath, they fly out of the glance of his eyes. Flaunt of the sunshine I need not your bask—lie over!
You light surfaces only, I force surfaces and depths also. Man or woman, I might tell how I like you, but cannot,. And might tell what it is in me and what it is in you, but cannot,. And might tell that pining I have, that pulse of my nights and days. Behold, I do not give lectures or a little charity,. Spread your palms and lift the flaps of your pockets,.
I am not to be denied, I compel, I have stores plenty and to spare,. I do not ask who you are, that is not important to me,. You can do nothing and be nothing but what I will infold you.
To cotton-field drudge or cleaner of privies I lean,. And in my soul I swear I never will deny him. On women fit for conception I start bigger and nimbler babes. This day I am jetting the stuff of far more arrogant republics. To any one dying, thither I speed and twist the knob of the door.
Turn the bed-clothes toward the foot of the bed,. I seize the descending man and raise him with resistless will,. By God, you shall not go down! I dilate you with tremendous breath, I buoy you up,. Not doubt, not decease shall dare to lay finger upon you,.
I have embraced you, and henceforth possess you to myself,. And when you rise in the morning you will find what I tell you is so. I am he bringing help for the sick as they pant on their backs,. And for strong upright men I bring yet more needed help. Heard it and heard it of several thousand years;. It is middling well as far as it goes—but is that all?
Outbidding at the start the old cautious hucksters,. Taking myself the exact dimensions of Jehovah,. Lithographing Kronos, Zeus his son, and Hercules his grandson,.
In my portfolio placing Manito loose, Allah on a leaf, the crucifix engraved,. With Odin and the hideous-faced Mexitli and every idol and image,.
Taking them all for what they are worth and not a cent more,. Admitting they were alive and did the work of their days,. Accepting the rough deific sketches to fill out better in myself, bestowing them freely on each man and woman I see,. Discovering as much or more in a framer framing a house,. Not objecting to special revelations, considering a curl of smoke or a hair on the back of my hand just as curious as any revelation,. Lads ahold of fire-engines and hook-and-ladder ropes no less to me than the gods of the antique wars,.
Minding their voices peal through the crash of destruction,. Selling all he possesses, traveling on foot to fee lawyers for his brother and sit by him while he is tried for forgery;. What was strewn in the amplest strewing the square rod about me, and not filling the square rod then,. The supernatural of no account, myself waiting my time to be one of the supremes,. The day getting ready for me when I shall do as much good as the best, and be as prodigious;.
By my life-lumps!
Come my boys and girls, my women, household and intimates,. Folks are around me, but they are no household of mine. Ever the eaters and drinkers, ever the upward and downward sun, ever the air and the ceaseless tides,.
Ever myself and my neighbors, refreshing, wicked, real,. Ever love, ever the sobbing liquid of life,. Ever the bandage under the chin, ever the trestles of death. Here and there with dimes on the eyes walking,. To feed the greed of the belly the brains liberally spooning,. Tickets buying, taking, selling, but in to the feast never once going,.
Many sweating, ploughing, thrashing, and then the chaff for payment receiving,. A few idly owning, and they the wheat continually claiming. This is the city and I am one of the citizens,. Whatever interests the rest interests me, politics, wars, markets, newspapers, schools,. The mayor and councils, banks, tariffs, steamships, factories, stocks, stores, real estate and personal estate. I am aware who they are, they are positively not worms or fleas,.
I acknowledge the duplicates of myself, the weakest and shallowest is deathless with me,. Every thought that flounders in me the same flounders in them. Know my omnivorous lines and must not write any less,. And would fetch you whoever you are flush with myself.
But abruptly to question, to leap beyond yet nearer bring;. This printed and bound book—but the printer and the printing-office boy? The well-taken photographs—but your wife or friend close and solid in your arms? In the houses the dishes and fare and furniture—but the host and hostess, and the look out of their eyes? The sky up there—yet here or next door, or across the way?
The saints and sages in history—but you yourself? Sermons, creeds, theology—but the fathomless human brain,. And what is reason? I do not despise you priests, all time, the world over,. My faith is the greatest of faiths and the least of faiths,.
Enclosing worship ancient and modern and all between ancient and modern,. Believing I shall come again upon the earth after five thousand years,. Waiting responses from oracles, honoring the gods, saluting the sun,.
Making a fetich of the first rock or stump, powowing with sticks in the circle of obis,. Helping the llama or brahmin as he trims the lamps of the idols,. Dancing yet through the streets in a phallic procession, rapt and austere in the woods a gymnosophist,. Drinking mead from the skull-cup, to Shastas and Vedas admirant, minding the Koran,.
Walking the teokallis, spotted with gore from the stone and knife, beating the serpent-skin drum,. Accepting the Gospels, accepting him that was crucified, knowing assuredly that he is divine,.
Ranting and frothing in my insane crisis, or waiting dead-like till my spirit arouses me,. Looking forth on pavement and land, or outside of pavement and land,. Belonging to the winders of the circuit of circuits.
One of that centripetal and centrifugal gang I turn and talk like a man leaving charges before a journey. I know every one of you, I know the sea of torment, doubt, despair and unbelief. How they contort rapid as lightning, with spasms and spouts of blood! Be at peace bloody flukes of doubters and sullen mopers,. I take my place among you as much as among any,. The past is the push of you, me, all, precisely the same,.
And what is yet untried and afterward is for you, me, all, precisely the same. I do not know what is untried and afterward,. But I know it will in its turn prove sufficient, and cannot fail. It cannot fail the young man who died and was buried,. Nor the young woman who died and was put by his side,. Nor the old man who has lived without purpose, and feels it with bitterness worse than gall,.
Nor him in the poor house tubercled by rum and the bad disorder,. Nor the sacs merely floating with open mouths for food to slip in,. Nor any thing in the earth, or down in the oldest graves of the earth,. Nor any thing in the myriads of spheres, nor the myriads of myriads that inhabit them,.
Nor the present, nor the least wisp that is known. It is time to explain myself—let us stand up. I launch all men and women forward with me into the Unknown. The clock indicates the moment—but what does eternity indicate?
We have thus far exhausted trillions of winters and summers,. There are trillions ahead, and trillions ahead of them. Births have brought us richness and variety,. And other births will bring us richness and variety. That which fills its period and place is equal to any. Were mankind murderous or jealous upon you, my brother, my sister? I am sorry for you, they are not murderous or jealous upon me,. All has been gentle with me, I keep no account with lamentation,. My feet strike an apex of the apices of the stairs,.
On every step bunches of ages, and larger bunches between the steps,. Rise after rise bow the phantoms behind me,. Afar down I see the huge first Nothing, I know I was even there,. I waited unseen and always, and slept through the lethargic mist,. And took my time, and took no hurt from the fetid carbon.