Walt Whitman · 160 pages
Rating: (70.9K votes)
“Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere - on water and land.”
“I am large, I contain multitudes”
“Do anything, but let it produce joy.”
“We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. So medicine, law, business, engineering... these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love... these are what we stay alive for.”
“O Me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d;
Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;
Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.”
“And as to me, I know nothing else but miracles”
“Battles are lost in the same spirit in which they are won.”
“I am satisfied ... I see, dance, laugh, sing.”
“I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.”
“I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”
“Are you the new person drawn toward me?
To begin with, take warning - I am surely far different from what you suppose;
Do you suppose you will find in me your ideal?
Do you think it so easy to have me become your lover?
Do you think the friendship of me would be unalloy'd satisfaction?
Do you think I am trusty and faithful?
Do you see no further than this façade—this smooth and tolerant manner of me?
Do you suppose yourself advancing on real ground toward a real heroic man?
Have you no thought, O dreamer, that it may be all maya, illusion?”
“I am not to speak to you, I am to think of you when I sit alone or
wake at night alone,
I am to wait, I do not doubt I am to meet you again,
I am to see to it that I do not lose you.”
“Give me the splendid, silent sun with all his beams full-dazzling.”
“Long enough have you dream'd contemptible dreams,
Now I wash the gum from your eyes,
You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light
and of every moment of your life”
“All beauty comes from beautiful blood and a beautiful brain. If the greatnesses are in conjunction in a man or woman it is enough...the fact will prevail through the universe...but the gaggery and gilt of a million years will not prevail. Who troubles himself about his ornaments or fluency is lost. This is what you shall so: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, 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...”
“O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up - for you the flag is flung - for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths - for you the shores
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.”
“Your very flesh shall be a great poem...”
“Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me?
And why should I not speak to you?”
“If you want me again look for me under your bootsoles.
You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good help to you nevertheless
And filter and fiber your blood.
Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop some where waiting for you”
“I am larger, better than I thought; I did not know I held so much goodness.
All seems beautiful to me.
Whoever denies me, it shall not trouble me;
Whoever accepts me, he or she shall be blessed, and shall bless me.”
“This is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done,
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou lovest best.
Night, sleep, and the stars.”
“Touch me, touch the palm of your hand to my body as I pass,
Be not afraid of my body.”
“Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems,
You shall possess the good of the earth and sun.... there are millions of suns left,
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand.... nor look through the eyes of the dead.... nor feed on the spectres in books,
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me,
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from yourself.”
“I will sleep no more but arise, You oceans that have been calm within me! how I feel you, fathomless, stirring, preparing unprecedented waves and storms.”
“I accept Time absolutely.
It alone is without flaw,
It alone rounds and completes all,
That mystic baffling wonder.”
“I will You, in all, Myself, with promise to never desert you,
To which I sign my name.”
“There was never any more inception than there is now,
Nor any more youth or age than there is now;
And will never be any more perfection than there is now,
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.”
“Rundstedt, revered throughout the German regular officer corps as its last archetypal Prussian, refused to deal with detail or to look at small-scale maps, as if the fighting itself were distasteful to him, but spent his days reading detective stories and thrice resigned his command.”
“it’s about doing the job you’ve trained your ass off to be good at, taking care of the guys to your left and right, and coming out the other side with all your fingers and toes.”
“Je ne me fîerai point à des propos si doux,
Qu'un peu de ses faveurs, après quoi je soupire.
Ne vienne m'assurer tout ce qu'ils m'ont pu dire.”
“The Magistrate suffered from the disability of a free-thinking turn of mind and from a life that was barren and dreary to match.”
“Scoot over.” “Where would you suggest I ‘scoot’?” Eliza asked. “You can sit on Hamilton’s lap,” Agatha said. Eliza didn’t have a chance to protest. Hamilton sent her a grin, and the next thing she knew, she was snuggled on his lap, his hand resting on her waist. She felt her cheeks flame and looked around for a distraction. “Why do you have that coat tied around you?” Agatha plopped down on the seat and rolled her eyes. “My pants split all the way down the back when I tried to tackle Eugene.” “They were quite delightful pants while they were still intact,” Zayne remarked cheerfully as he squeezed his lanky frame into the carriage and nodded to Agatha. “Scoot over.” “There’s no room,” Agatha said, “and you shouldn’t have been noticing my pants.” Zayne took Agatha’s hand, pulled her to her feet, took her spot on the seat, and pulled her into his lap. “This is cozy,” he remarked to no one in particular.”
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