Leaves of Grass

Page 33 of 72

  All you are doing and saying is to America dangled mirages,
  You have not learn'd of Nature—of the politics of Nature you have
      not learn'd the great amplitude, rectitude, impartiality,
  You have not seen that only such as they are for these States,
  And that what is less than they must sooner or later lift off from
      these States.

I Sit and Look Out

  I sit and look out upon all the sorrows of the world, and upon all
      oppression and shame,
  I hear secret convulsive sobs from young men at anguish with
      themselves, remorseful after deeds done,
  I see in low life the mother misused by her children, dying,
      neglected, gaunt, desperate,
  I see the wife misused by her husband, I see the treacherous seducer
      of young women,
  I mark the ranklings of jealousy and unrequited love attempted to be
      hid, I see these sights on the earth,
  I see the workings of battle, pestilence, tyranny, I see martyrs and
  I observe a famine at sea, I observe the sailors casting lots who
      shall be kill'd to preserve the lives of the rest,
  I observe the slights and degradations cast by arrogant persons upon
      laborers, the poor, and upon negroes, and the like;
  All these—all the meanness and agony without end I sitting look out upon,
  See, hear, and am silent.

To Rich Givers

  What you give me I cheerfully accept,
  A little sustenance, a hut and garden, a little money, as I
      rendezvous with my poems,
  A traveler's lodging and breakfast as journey through the States,—
      why should I be ashamed to own such gifts? why to advertise for them?
  For I myself am not one who bestows nothing upon man and woman,
  For I bestow upon any man or woman the entrance to all the gifts of
      the universe.

The Dalliance of the Eagles

  Skirting the river road, (my forenoon walk, my rest,)
  Skyward in air a sudden muffled sound, the dalliance of the eagles,
  The rushing amorous contact high in space together,
  The clinching interlocking claws, a living, fierce, gyrating wheel,
  Four beating wings, two beaks, a swirling mass tight grappling,
  In tumbling turning clustering loops, straight downward falling,
  Till o'er the river pois'd, the twain yet one, a moment's lull,
  A motionless still balance in the air, then parting, talons loosing,
  Upward again on slow-firm pinions slanting, their separate diverse flight,
  She hers, he his, pursuing.

Roaming in Thought [After reading Hegel]

  Roaming in thought over the Universe, I saw the little that is Good
      steadily hastening towards immortality,
  And the vast all that is call'd Evil I saw hastening to merge itself
      and become lost and dead.

A Farm Picture

  Through the ample open door of the peaceful country barn,
  A sunlit pasture field with cattle and horses feeding,
  And haze and vista, and the far horizon fading away.

A Child's Amaze

  Silent and amazed even when a little boy,
  I remember I heard the preacher every Sunday put God in his statements,
  As contending against some being or influence.

The Runner

  On a flat road runs the well-train'd runner,
  He is lean and sinewy with muscular legs,
  He is thinly clothed, he leans forward as he runs,
  With lightly closed fists and arms partially rais'd.

Beautiful Women

  Women sit or move to and fro, some old, some young,
  The young are beautiful—but the old are more beautiful than the young.

Mother and Babe

  I see the sleeping babe nestling the breast of its mother,
  The sleeping mother and babe—hush'd, I study them long and long.


  Of obedience, faith, adhesiveness;
  As I stand aloof and look there is to me something profoundly
      affecting in large masses of men following the lead of those who
      do not believe in men.


  A mask, a perpetual natural disguiser of herself,
  Concealing her face, concealing her form,
  Changes and transformations every hour, every moment,
  Falling upon her even when she sleeps.


  Of justice—as If could be any thing but the same ample law,
      expounded by natural judges and saviors,
  As if it might be this thing or that thing, according to decisions.

Gliding O'er all

  Gliding o'er all, through all,
  Through Nature, Time, and Space,
  As a ship on the waters advancing,
  The voyage of the soul—not life alone,
  Death, many deaths I'll sing.

Hast Never Come to Thee an Hour

  Hast never come to thee an hour,
  A sudden gleam divine, precipitating, bursting all these bubbles,
      fashions, wealth?
  These eager business aims—books, politics, art, amours,
  To utter nothingness?


  Of Equality—as if it harm'd me, giving others the same chances and
      rights as myself—as if it were not indispensable to my own
      rights that others possess the same.

To Old Age

  I see in you the estuary that enlarges and spreads itself grandly as
      it pours in the great sea.

Locations and Times

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