Verse > Walt Whitman > Leaves of Grass

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

NOTES  250–259

250. O Star of France

1870–71. First published in “As a Strong Bird,” 1872.

251. Virginia—The West

First published in “As a Strong Bird,” etc., 1872.

252. By Broad Potomac’s Shore

First published in “As a Strong Bird,” etc., 1872.

253. Song of the Redwood-Tree

First published in Harper’s Magazine, February, 1874. Included in Centennial Songs, 1876.

  l. 4  1874 for “sky” reads “air.”

  l. 21  1874 reads “over a hundred feet high.”

254. Song of the Universal

(Commencement Poem, Tuft’s College, Mass., June 17, 1874). Included in Centennial Song, 1876.

255. Song for All Seas, All Ships

First published in Centennial Songs, 1876.

256. Eidólons

Published in “Two Rivulets,” 1876.

257. Prayer of Columbus

First published in Harper’s Magazine, March, 1871. Included in “Two Rivulets,” 1876.

  IT was near the close of his indomitable and pious life—on his last voyage when nearly 70 years of age—that Columbus, to save his two remaining ships from foundering in the Caribbean Sea in a terrible storm, had to run them ashore on the Island of Jamaica—where, laid up for a long and miserable year—1503—he was taken very sick, had several relapses, his men revolted, and death seem’d daily imminent; though he was eventually rescued, and sent home to Spain to die, unrecognized, neglected and in want......It is only ask’d, as preparation and atmosphere for the following lines, that the bare authentic facts be recall’d and realized, and nothing contributed by the fancy. See, the Antillean Island, with its florid skies and rich foliage and scenery, the waves beating the solitary sands, and the hulls of the ships in the distance. See, the figure of the great Admiral, walking the beach, as a stage, in this sublimest tragedy—for what tragedy, what poem, so piteous and majestic as the real scene?—and hear him uttering—as his mystical and religious soul surely utter’d, the ideas following—perhaps, in their equivalents, the very words.

258. Spain 1873–’74

Published in “Two Rivulets,” 1876.

259. Out from Behind this Mask

To confront a Portrait. Published in “Two Rivulets,” 1876.


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