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.
young men droop their eyelashes toward the ground when they meet; But for all this Liberty has not gone out of the place, nor the infidel enter’d into full possession. When liberty goes out of a place it is not the first to go, nor the second or third to go, It waits for all the rest to go, it is the last. When there are no more memories of heroes and martyrs, And when all life and all the souls of men and women are discharged from any part of the earth, Then only shall liberty or
limitless sweet love and precious suffering of mothers, All honest men baffled in strifes recorded or unrecorded, All the grandeur and good of ancient nations whose fragments we inherit, All the good of the dozens of ancient nations unknown to us by name, date, location, All that was ever manfully begun, whether it succeeded or no, All suggestions of the divine mind of man or the divinity of his mouth, or the shaping of his great hands, All that is well thought or said this day on any
speaks as if the female must be forced to the creative act, apparently ignorant of the natural fact that a healthy woman has as much passion as a man, that she needs nothing stronger than the law of attraction to draw her to the male.” Some have looked more critically at this rape-like scene, while others see it as further evidence that Whitman simply did not know how to describe a heterosexual love scene. 21 (p. 267) I toss it carelessly to fall where it may: The condemnation of
its antecedent, and so backward without the farthest mentionable spot coming a bit nearer the beginning than any other spot.... Whatever satisfies the soul is truth. The prudence of the greatest poet answers at last the craving and glut of the soul, is not contemptuous of less ways of prudence if they conform to its ways, puts off nothing, permits no let-up for its own case or any case, has no particular sabbath or judgment-day, divides not the living from the dead or the righteous from the
good belongs to you. I loafe and invite my soul, I lean and loafe at my ease.... observing a spear of summer grass. Houses and rooms are full of perfumes.... the shelves are crowded with perfumes, I breathe the fragrance myself, and know it and like it, The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it. The atmosphere is not a perfume.... it has no taste of the distillation . . . . it is odorless, It is for my mouth forever.... I am in love with it, I will