Leaves of Grass: The Original 1855 Edition (Dover Thrift Editions)
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This edition presents the original twelve poems from Whitman's premier 1855 publication of Leaves of Grass. Included are some of the greatest poems of modern times: "Song of Myself," "I Sing the Body Electric," and "There Was a Child Went Forth," works that continue to upset conventional notions of beauty and originality even today.
presuming the growth, fulness, life, now attain’d on the journey, (But I see the road continued, and the journey ever continued;) Of what was once lacking on earth, and in due time has become supplied—and of what will yet be supplied, Because all I see and know I believe to have its main purport in what will vet be supplied. WHEN I HEARD THE LEARN’D ASTRONOMER When I heard the learn’d astronomer, When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me, When I was shown the
till the last ray gleams I sing. Open mouth of my soul uttering gladness, Eyes of my soul seeing perfection, Natural life of me faithfully praising things, Corroborating forever the triumph of things. Illustrious every one! Illustrious what we name space, sphere of unnumber’d spirits, Illustrious the mystery of motion in all beings, even the tiniest insect, Illustrious the attribute of speech, the senses, the body, Illustrious the passing light—illustrious the pale reflection on
star—in every birth and life, As part of each—evolv’d from each—meaning, behind the ostent, A mystic cipher waits infolded. LONG, LONG HENCE After a long, long course, hundreds of years, denials, Accumulations, rous’d love and joy and thought, Hopes, wishes, aspirations, ponderings, victories, myriads of readers, Coating, compassing, covering—after ages’ and ages’ encrustations, Then only may these songs reach fruition. BRAVO, PARIS EXPOSITION! 126 Add to your show, before
the study of man, the soul, immortality—federal, state or municipal government, marriage, health, freetrade, intertravel by land and sea... nothing too close, nothing too far off... the stars not too far off. In war he is the most deadly force of the war. Who recruits him recruits horse and foot... he fetches parks of artillery the best that engineer ever knew. If the time becomes slothful and heavy he knows how to arouse it ... he can make every word he speaks draw blood. Whatever stagnates in
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