Leaves of Grass: The Original 1855 Edition (Dover Thrift Editions)
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This edition presents the original twelve poems from Whitman's premier 1855 publication of Leaves of Grass. Included are some of the greatest poems of modern times: "Song of Myself," "I Sing the Body Electric," and "There Was a Child Went Forth," works that continue to upset conventional notions of beauty and originality even today.
bunches of grapes from the vines, Or aught that ripens in all these States or North or South, Under the beaming sun and under thee. THERE WAS A CHILD WENT FORTH There was a child went forth every day, And the first object he look’d upon, that object he became, And that object became part of him for the day or a certain part of the day, Or for many years or stretching cycles of years. The early lilacs became part of this child, And grass and white and red morning-glories, and
they go. This is a face of bitter herbs, this an emetic, they need no label, And more of the drug-shelf, laudanum, caoutchouc, or hog‘s-lard. This face is an epilepsy, its wordless tongue gives out the unearthly cry, Its veins down the neck distend, its eyes roll till they show nothing but their whites, Its teeth grit, the palms of the hands are cut by the turn‘d-in nails, The man falls struggling and foaming to the ground, while he speculates well. This face is bitten by
there is no flaw or vacuum in the amount of the truth— but that all is truth without exception; And henceforth I will go celebrate any thing I see or am, And sing and laugh and deny nothing. A RIDDLE SONG101 That which eludes this verse and any verse, Unheard by sharpest ear, unform’d in clearest eye or cunningest mind, Nor lore nor fame, nor happiness nor wealth, And yet the pulse of every heart and life throughout the world incessantly, Which you and I and all pursuing ever ever
calculating that decision, William O‘Connor and Dr. Bucke are far more peremptory than I am. Behind all else that can be said, I consider “Leaves of Grass” and its theory experimental—as, in the deepest sense, I consider our American republic itself to be, with its theory. (I think I have at least enough philosophy not to be too absolutely certain of any thing, or any results.) In the second place, the volume is a sortie—whether to prove triumphant, and conquer its field of aim and escape and
I, in time to come, be great and famed?” Now soon an answer wild and mystical Seemed to sound forth from out the depths of air; And to the gazer’s eye appeared a shape Like one as of a cloud—and thus it spoke: “O, many a panting, noble heart Cherishes in its deep recess The hope to win renown o‘er earth From Glory’s prized caress. “And some will win that envied goal, And have their deeds known far and wide; And some—by far the most—will sink Down in oblivion’s tide. “But