Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1835–1860
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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. VI–VIII: Literature of the Republic, Part III., 1835–1860
 
From the “Song of Myself”: The Large Hearts of Heroes
By Walt Whitman (1819–1892)
 
[Leaves of Grass. 1855.—Leaves of Grass, and Two Rivulets: Centennial Edition. 1876.—Leaves of Grass: with additions. 1881.—November Boughs. 1888.—Complete Works. 1888. See full text.]

AGONIES are one of my changes of garments,
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.
 
I am the mash’d fireman with breast-bone broken,
Tumbling walls buried me in their debris,        5
Heat and smoke I inspired, I heard the yelling shouts of my comrades,
I heard the distant click of their picks and shovels,
They have clear’d the beams away, they tenderly lift me forth.
 
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,        10
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.
 
Distant and dead resuscitate,
They show as the dial or move as the hands of me, I am the clock myself.
 
I am an old artillerist, I tell of my fort’s bombardment,        15
I am there again.
 
Again the long roll of the drummers,
Again the attacking cannon, mortars,
Again to my listening ears the cannon responsive.
 
I take part, I see and hear the whole,        20
The cries, curses, roar, the plaudits for well-aim’d shots,
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.        25
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.
 
 
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