Verse > Walt Whitman > Leaves of Grass

Walt Whitman (1819–1892).  Leaves of Grass.  1900.

NOTES  90–99

90. Poets to Come

First published in 1860.

  l. 1  “orators, singers, musicians to come!” added in 1870.

  l. 2  1860 ’67 read “Not to-day is to justify me, and Democracy, and what we are for.”

  l. 4  1860 ’67. For line 4 read “You must justify me.” After line 4, 1860 reads

“Indeed, if it were not for you, what would I be?
What is the little I have done, except to arouse you?

I depend on being realized, long hence, where the broad fat prairies spread, and thence to Oregon and California inclusive,
I expect that the Texan and the Arizonian, ages hence, will understand me,
I expect that the future Carolinian and Georgian will understand me and love me,
I expect that Kanadians, a hundred, and perhaps many hundred years from now, in winter, in the splendor of the snow and woods, or on the icy lakes, will take me with them, and permanently enjoy themselves with me.

Of to-day I know I am momentary, untouched—I am the bard of the future,
I but write one or two indicative words for the future,” etc.

  l. 5  “myself” added in 1870.

91. I Hear America Singing

First published in 1860 where line 1 reads “American Mouth-Songs.”

  l. 10  1860 adds “Come! some of you! still be flooding The States with hundreds and thousands of mouth-songs fit for The States only.

92. City Dead-House, The

First published in 1867.

93. A Farm-Picture

First published in “Drum Taps,” 1865.

  l. 3  Line 3 added in 1870.

94. Carol of Occupations

First published in 1855. In edition of 1856 under title of “Poem of The Daily Work of the Workmen and Workwomen of These States.” 1860 as No. 3, “Chants Democratic.” 1867 under title of “To Workingmen.”

  l. 6  “Male and Female” added in 1860.

  l. 8  “American masses” added in 1860.

  l. 10  1867. For “carol” reads “poem.”

  Lines 10, 11, 12 added in 1867.

  l. 13  “Workmen and Workwomen” added in 1860.

  l. 22  1855 ’56 read “If you are a workman or workwoman, I stand as nigh as the nighest that works in the same shop.”

  l. 25  1855 reads “If you have become degraded or ill, then I will become so for your sake.”

  l. 27  1855 reads “I say I will carouse,” etc.

  l. 28  1855 ’56 ’60 read “do I not often meet,” etc.

  1855 ’56 ’60. After line 28 read “If you see a good deal remarkable in me, I see just as much remarkable in you.”

  l. 39  1855 ’56 ’60. After line 39 read

“I see and hear you and what you give and take,
What is there you cannot give and take?
I see not merely that you are polite or white-faced, married, single, citizens of old States, citizens of new States, eminent in some profession, a lady or gentleman in a parlor, or dressed in the jail uniform, or pulpit uniform.”

  1855 ’56 to above add

“Not only the free Utahan, Kansian, or Arkansian, not only the free Cuban, not merely the slave, not Mexican native, or Flatfoot, or negro from Africa,
Iroquois eating warflesh, fish-tearer in his lair of rocks and sand, Esquimaux in the dark cold snow-house, Chinese with his transverse eyes, Bedowee, wandering nomad, or tabounshick at the head of his droves.”

  l. 45  1855 ’56 ’60 read “Offspring of those not rich,” etc.

  l. 47  1855 ’56 ’60. For line 47 read

“The nävie, the simple and hardy, he going to the polls to vote, he who has a good time and he who has a bad time;
Mechanics, Southerners, new arrivals, sailors, man-o’-wars-men, merchant-men, coasters.”

  l. 51  1855 reads “but I bring as good.”

  l. 57  1855 ’56 ’60. After “readiest” read “it is not them though it is endlessly provoked by them (What is there ready and near you now?)”

  l. 69  1855 ’56 ’60. After “forever” read “and each acre of surface and space forever.”

  l. 70  Line 70. Added in 1867.

  l. 71  1855 reads “as mainly for a trade,” etc.

  l. 80  1855. For “cash” read “prudence.”

  l. 81  1855. For “then” read “but.”

  l. 85  1855 reads “But I am eternally in love with you,” etc. 1856 reads “Then I am eternally in love with you,” etc.

  l. 90  Lines 90 to 97, inclusive, in editions of 1855 ’56 ’60 are placed at the end of the poem.

  l. 98  1855. For “reverence” reads “value and respect.”

  l. 101  1855 ’56. For “Twelfth-month” read “December.”

  l. 103  Line 103. Added in 1867.

  l. 112  1855. For “score” reads “notes.”

  l. 116  1855 ’56 ’60 read “Does all sit there with you, and here with me?”

  l. 117  From line 117 to end is the reading adopted in 1867. The readings of 1855 ’56 ’60 differ a little from each other, but in the main are the same as that of 1860, which is as follows:

The old, forever-new things—you foolish child! the closest, simplest things, this moment with you,
Your person, and every particle that relates to your person,
The pulses of your brain, waiting their chance and encouragement at every deed or sight,
Anything you do in public by day, and anything you do in secret between-days,
What is called right and what is called wrong—what you behold or touch, or what causes your anger or wonder,
The ankle-chain of the slave, the bed of the bed-house, the cards of the gambler, the plates of the forger,
What is seen or learnt in the street, or intuitively learnt,
What is learnt in the public school, spelling, reading, writing, ciphering, the black-board, the teacher’s diagrams,
The panes of the windows, all that appears through them, the going forth in the morning, the aimless spending of the day,
(What is it that you made money? What is it that you got what you wanted?)
The usual routine, the work-shop, factory, yard, office, store, desk,
The jaunt of hunting or fishing, and the life of hunting or fishing,
Pasture-life, foddering, milking, herding, and all the personnel and usages,
The plum-orchard, apple-orchard, gardening, seedlings, cuttings, flowers, vines,
Grains, manures, marl, clay, loam, the subsoil plough, the shovel, pick, rake, hoe, irrigation, draining,
The curry-comb, the horse-cloth, the halter, bridle, bits, the very wisps of straw,
The barn and barn-yard, the bins, mangers, mows, racks,
Manufactures, commerce, engineering, the building of cities, every trade carried on there, and the implements of every trade,
The anvil, tongs, hammer, the axe and wedge, the square, mitre, jointer, smoothing-plane,
The plumbob, trowel, level, the wall-scaffold, the work of walls and ceilings, or any mason-work,
The steam-engine, lever, crank, axle, piston, shaft, air-pump, boiler, beam, pulley, hinge, flange, band, bolt, throttle, governors, up and down rods,
The ship’s compass, the sailor’s tarpaulin, the stays and lanyards, the ground tackle for anchoring or mooring, the life-boat for wrecks,
The sloop’s tiller, the pilot’s wheel and bell, the yacht or fish-smack—the great gay-pennanted three-hundred-foot steamboat, under full headway, with her proud fat breasts, and her delicate swift-flashing paddles,
The trail, line, hooks, sinkers, and the seine, and hauling the seine,
The arsenal, small-arms, rifles, gunpowder, shot, caps, wadding, ordnance for war, and carriages;
Every-day objects, house-chairs, carpet, bed, counterpane of the bed, him or her sleeping at night, wind blowing, indefinite noises,
The snow-storm or rain-storm, the tow-trowsers, the lodge-hut in the woods, the still-hunt,
City and country, fire-place, candle, gas-light, heater, aqueduct,
The message of the Governor, Mayor, Chief of Police—the dishes of breakfast, dinner, supper,
The bunk-room, the fire-engine, the string-team, the car or truck behind,
The paper I write on or you write on, every word we write, every cross and twirl of the pen, and the curious way we write what we think, yet very faintly,
The directory, the detector, the ledger, the books in ranks on the book-shelves, the clock attached to the wall,
The ring on your finger, the lady’s wristlet, the scent-powder, the druggist’s vials and jars, the drought of lager-beer,
The etui of surgical instruments, the etui of oculist’s or aurist’s instruments, or dentist’s instruments,
The permutating lock that can be turned and locked as many different ways as there are minutes in a year,
Glass-blowing, nail-making, salt-making, tin-roofing, shingle-dressing, candle-making, lock-making and hanging,
Ship-carpentering, dock-building, fish-curing, ferrying, stone-breaking, flagging of side-walks by flaggers,
The pump, the pile-driver, the great derrick, the coal-kiln and brick-kiln,
Coal-mines, all that is down there, the lamps in the darkness, echoes, songs, what meditations, what vast native thoughts looking through smutch’d faces,
Iron-works, forge-fires in the mountains, or by river-banks, men around feeling the melt with huge crowbars—lumps of ore, the due combining of ore, limestone, coal—the blast-furnace and the puddling-furnace, the loup-lump at the bottom of the melt at last—the rolling-mill, the stumpy bars of pig-iron, the strong clean-shaped T rail for railroads,
Oil-works, silk-works, white-lead-works, the sugar-house, steam-saws, the great mills and factories,
Lead-mines, and all that is done in lead-mines, or with the lead afterward,
Copper-mines, the sheets of copper, and what is formed out of the sheets, and all the work in forming it,
Stone-cutting, shapely trimmings for façades, or window or door lintels—the mallet, the tooth-chisel, the jib to protect the thumb,
Oakum, the oakum-chisel, the caulking-iron—the kettle of boiling vault-cement, and the fire under the kettle,
The cotton-bale, the stevedore’s hook, the saw and buck of the sawyer, the screen of the coal-screener, the mould of the moulder, the working-knife of the butcher, the ice-saw, and all the work with ice,
The four-double cylinder press, the hand-press, the frisket and tympan, the compositor’s stick and rule, type-setting, making up the forms, all the work of newspaper counters, folders, carriers, news-men,
The implements for daguerreotyping—the tools of the rigger, grappler, sail-maker, block-maker,
Goods of gutta-percha, papier-maché, colors, brushes, brush-making, glazier’s implements,
The veneer and glue-pot, the confectioner’s ornaments, the decanter and glasses, the shears and flat-iron,
The awl and knee-strap, the pint measure and quart measure, the counter and stool, the writing-pen of quill or metal—the making of all sorts of edged tools,
The ladders and hanging-ropes of the gymnasium, manly exercises, the game of base-ball, running, leaping, pitching quoits,
The designs for wall-papers, oil-cloths, carpets, the fancies for goods for women, the book-binder’s stamps,
The brewery, brewing, the malt, the vats, every thing that is done by brewers, also by wine-makers, also vinegar-makers,
Leather-dressing, coach-making, boiler-making, rope-twisting, distilling, sign-painting, lime-burning, coopering, cotton-picking—electro-plating, electrotyping, stereotyping,
Stave-machines, planing-machines, reaping-machines, ploughing-machines, thrashing-machines, steam-wagons,
The cart of the carman, the omnibus, the ponderous dray,
The wires of the electric telegraph stretched on land, or laid at the bottom of the sea, and then the message in an instant from a thousand miles off,
The snow-plough, and two engines pushing it—the ride in the express-train of only one car, the swift go through a howling storm—the locomotive, and all that is done about a locomotive,
The bear-hunt or coon-hunt—the bonfire of shavings in the open lot in the city, and the crowd of children watching,
The blows of the fighting-man, the upper-cut, and one-two-three,
Pyrotechny, letting off colored fire-works at night, fancy figures and jets,
Shop-windows, coffins in the sexton’s ware-room, fruit on the fruit-stand—beef in the butcher’s stall, the slaughter-house of the butcher, the butcher in his killing-clothes,
The area of pens of live pork, the killing-hammer, the hog-hook, the scalder’s tub, gutting, the cutter’s cleaver, the packer’s maul, and the plenteous winter-work of pork-packing,
Flour-works, grinding of wheat, rye, maize, rice—the barrels and the half and quarter barrels, the loaded barges, the high piles on wharves and levees,
Bread and cakes in the bakery, the milliner’s ribbons, the dress-maker’s patterns, the tea-table, the home-made sweetmeats;
Cheap literature, maps, charts, lithographs, daily and weekly newspapers,
The column of wants in the one-cent paper, the news by telegraph, amusements, operas, shows,
The business parts of a city, the trottoirs of a city when thousands of well-dressed people walk up and down,
The cotton, woollen, linen you wear, the money you make and spend,
Your room and bed-room, your piano-forte, the stove and cook-pans,
The house you live in, the rent, the other tenants, the deposit in the savings-bank, the trade at the grocery,
The pay on Seventh Day night, the going home, and the purchases;
In them the heft of the heaviest—in them far more than you estimated, and far less also,
In them realities for you and me—in them poems for you and me,
In them, not yourself—you and your Soul enclose all things, regardless of estimation,
In them themes, hints, provokers—if not, the whole earth has no themes, hints, provokers, and never had.

I do not affirm what you see beyond is futile—I do not advise you to stop,
I do not say leadings you thought great are not great,
But I say that none lead to greater, sadder, happier, than those lead to.

Will you seek afar off? You surely come back at last,
In things best known to you, finding the best, or as good as the best,
In folks nearest to you finding also the sweetest, strongest, lovingest,
Happiness, knowledge, not in another place, but this place—not for another hour, but this hour,
Man in the first you see or touch—always in your friend, brother, nighest neighbor—Woman in your mother, lover, wife,
The popular tastes and occupations taking precedence in poems or any where,
You workwomen and workmen of These States having your own divine and strong life,
Looking the President always sternly in the face, unbending, nonchalant,
Understanding that he is to be kept by you to short and sharp account of himself,
And all else thus far giving place to men and women like you.

95. Thoughts

1. First published in 1860, being part of “Thought 4” in 1860 and 1867 editions.

2. First published in 1860, being “Thought 2” in 1860 and 1867 editions.

96. Sleepers, The

First published in 1855. In 1856 under title of “Night Poem.” In 1860 ’67 under title of “Sleep-Chasings.”

  l. 22  “all, all” added in 1860.

  l. 23  1855 ’56 read “I stand with drooping eyes by the worst suffering and restless.”

  l. 26  Line 26 added in 1860.

  l. 135  1855 ’56 ’60 ’67 read “my tap is death.”

  l. 179  1855 ’56 ’60. For “come on” read “go on.”

  l. 204  1855 adds

  “Not you will yield forth the dawn again more surely than you will yield forth me again,
Not the womb yields the babe in its time more surely than I shall be yielded from you in my time.”

97. Carol of Words

First published in 1856 under title of “Poem of The Sayers of the Words of The Earth.” In editions of 1860 ’67 under title of “To The Sayers of Words.”

  l. 1  “to be said” added in 1860.

  l. 3  1856 reads “These are vast words.”

  l. 18  1856 ’60 read “The great masters, the sayers,” etc.

After line 18, 1856 reads

“Syllables are not the earth’s words,
Beauty, reality, manhood, time, life,—the realities of such as these are the earth’s words.”

  l. 53  1856 reads “her eyes glancing back from it.”

  l. 54  1856 reads “Glancing thence as she sits.”

  l. 70  1856. For “fluid” reads “liquid.”

  l. 81  “such” added in 1867.

  l. 82  1856. For “No” reads “Not.”

  l. 103  1856 ’60 read “of the words.”

  l. 118  For “a carol of words” 1856 reads “for the sayers of the earth.” 1860 ’67 read “for the sayers of words.”

  l. 119  1856 ’60 ’67 read “These are they that echo.”

  l. 124  1856 reads “Say on Sayers of the earth!”

  l. 125  1856 reads “substantial words,” etc.

  l. 126  Line 126 added in 1860.

98. Ah Poverties, Wincings and Sulky Retreats

First published in “When Lilacs Last In The Door-yard Bloomed,” 1865 ’66.

99. A Boston Ballad, 1854

First published in 1855. In edition of 1856 under title of “Poem of Apparitions in Boston, the 78th Year of These States.” In 1860 under title of “A Boston Ballad the 78th Year of These States.”

  l. 1  1855 ’56 ’60 read “I rose this morning early to get betimes in Boston town.”

  l. 3  In 1855 ’56 ’60 lines 3, 4 and 5 begin the poem, lines 1 and 2 following.

  l. 5  1855 reads “and the phantoms afterward” for “and the apparitions,” etc.

  l. 7  1855 reads “How bright shine the foremost with cutlasses.”

  l. 11  “indeed” added in 1867.

  l. 13  1855 ’56 ’60 read “and rear of it.”

  l. 21  1855 ’56 ’60 read “smart grand-sons.”

  l. 25  1855 ’56 read “Retreat then! Pell-mell! Back to the hills, old limpers!”

  l. 26  1860 reads “Back to your graves! Back to the hills,” etc.

  l. 30  “haste” added in 1860.

  l. 36  1855 reads “Here is a centre-piece for them.”


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