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
 
Behold a Woman!
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.]

THE OLD face of the mother of many children,
Whist! I am fully content.
 
Lull’d and late is the smoke of the First-day morning,
It hangs low over the rows of trees by the fences,
It hangs thin by the sassafras and wild cherry and cat-brier under them.        5
 
I saw the rich ladies in full dress at the soiree,
I heard what the singers were singing so long,
Heard who sprang in crimson youth from the white froth and the water-blue.
 
Behold a woman!
She looks out from her Quaker cap, her face is clearer and more beautiful than the sky.        10
 
She sits in an arm-chair under the shaded porch of the farmhouse,
The sun just shines on her old white head.
 
Her ample gown is of creamed-hued linen,
Her grandsons raised the flax, and her grand-daughters spun it with the distaff and the wheel.
 
The melodious character of the earth,        15
The finish beyond which philosophy cannot go and does not wish to go,
The justified mother of men.
 
 
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