WALT WHITMAN was born in Westhills, Long Island, May 31, 1819, in a farm-house overlooking the sea. While yet a child his parents moved to Brooklyn, where he acquired his education. He learned type-setting at thirteen years of age. Two years later he taught a country school. He contributed to the «Democratic Review» before he was twenty-one years old. At thirty he traveled through the Western States, and spent one year in New Orleans editing a newspaper. Returning home he took up his father’s occupation of carpenter and builder, which he followed for a while. During the War of the Rebellion he spent most of his time in the hospitals and camps, in the relief of the sick and disabled soldiers. For a time he was a department clerk in Washington.

 

In 1856 he published a volume entitled «Leaves of Grass.» This volume shows unquestionable power, and great originality. His labors among the sick and wounded necessarily made great impressions; these took form in his mind and were published under the title of «Drum Taps.»

 

His poems lack much of the standard of recognized poetic measure. He has a style peculiar to himself, and his writings are full of meaning, beauty and interest. Of his productions, Underwood says: «Pupils who are accustomed to associate the idea of poetry with regular classic measure in rhyme, or in ten-syllabled blank verse or elastic hexameters, will commence these short and simple prose sentences with surprise, and will wonder how any number of them can form a poem. But let them read aloud with a mind in sympathy with the picture as it is displayed, and they will find by nature’s unmistakable responses, that the author was a poet, and possessed the poet’s incommunicable power to touch the heart.» He died in Camden, N. J., March 20, 1892.

(Biography from: http://www.2020site.org/poetry/index.html)

 

A Song. by Walt Whitman

1

COME, I will make the continent indissoluble;

I will make the most splendid race the sun ever yet shone upon;

I will make divine magnetic lands,

With the love of comrades,

With the life-long love of comrades.

 

2

I will plant companionship thick as trees along all the rivers of America, and along the

shores

of

the great lakes, and all over the prairies;

I will make inseparable cities, with their arms about each other’s necks;

By the love of comrades,

By the manly love of comrades.

 

3

For you these, from me, O Democracy, to serve you, ma femme!

For you! for you, I am trilling these songs,

In the love of comrades,

In the high-towering love of comrades.

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