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I have perceiv'd that to be with those I like is enough,
To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough,
To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laugh-

ing flesh is enough, To pass among them or touch any one, or rest my arm

ever so lightly round his or her neck for a moment,

what is this then ? I do not ask any more delight, I swim in it as in a sea. There is something in staying close to men and women

and looking on them, and in the contact and odor of

them, that pleases the soul well, All things please the soul, but these please the soul well.

A man's body at auction, (For before the war I often go to the slave-mart and watch

the sale) I help the auctioneer, the sloven does not half know his

business. Gentlemen look on this wonder, Whatever the bids of the bidders they cannot be high enough

for it, For it the globe lay preparing quintillions of years without

one animal or plant, For it the revolving cycles truly and steadily rolld. In this head the all-baffling brain, In it and below it the makings of heroes. Examine these limbs, red, black, or white, they are cunning

in tendon and nerve, They shall be stript that you may see them. Exquisite senses, life-lit eyes, pluck, volition, Flakes of breast-muscle, pliant backbone and neck, flesh

not fabby, good-sized arms and legs, And wonders within there yet. Within there runs blood,

The same old blood! the same red-running blood !
There swells and jets a heart, there all passions, desires,

reachings, aspirations,
(Do you think they are not there because they are not

express'd in parlors and lecture-rooms ?) This is not only one man, this the father of those who shall

be fathers in their turns, In him the start of populous states and rich republics, Of him countless immortal lives with countless embodi

ments and enjoyments.

How do you know who shall come from the offspring of

his offspring through the centuries ? (Who might you find you have come from yourself, if you

could trace back through the centuries ?)

A woman's body at auction,
She too is not only herself, she is the teeming mother of

She is the bearer of them that shall grow and be mates to

the mothers.

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Have you ever loved the body of a woman?
Have you ever loved the body of a man?

you not see that these are exactly the same to all in all nations and times all over the earth?

If anything is sacred the human body is sacred,
And the glory and sweet of a man is the token of man-

hood untainted,
And in man or woman a clean, strong, firm-fibred body, is

more beautiful than the most beautiful face.

Have you seen the fool that corrupted his own live body?

or the fool that corrupted her own live body? For they do not conceal themselves, and cannot conceal


Out of the rolling ocean the crowd came a drop gently to

Whispering I love you, before long I die,
I have traveld a long way merely to look on you to touch you,
For I could not die till I once look'd on you,
For I fear'd I might afterward lose you.
Now we have met, we have look’d, we are safe,
Return in peace to the ocean my love,
I too am part of that ocean my love, we are not so much

separated, Behold the great rondure, the cohesion of all, how perfect ! But as for


the irresistible sea is to separate us, As for an hour carrying us diverse, yet cannot carry us

diverse forever; Be not impatient — a little space — know you I salute the

air, the ocean and the land, Every day at sundown for your dear sake my love.

We two, how long we were foold,
Now transmuted, we swiftly escape as Nature escapes,
We are Nature, long have we been absent, but now we re-

We become plants, trunks, foliage, roots, bark,
We are bedded in the ground, we are rocks,
We are oaks, we grow in the openings side by side,
We browse, we are two among the wild herds spontaneous

as any,

We are two fishes swimming in the sea together,
We are what locust blossoms are, we drop scent around

lanes mornings and evenings, We are also the coarse smut of beasts, vegetables, minerals, We are two predatory hawks, we soar above and look

down, We are two resplendent suns, we it is who balance our

selves orbic and stellar, we are as two comets,

We prowl fang'd and four-footed in the woods, we spring

on prey,

We are two clouds forenoons and afternoons driving over

head, We are seas mingling, we are two of those cheerful waves

rolling over each other and interwetting each other, We are what the atmosphere is, transparent, receptive,

pervious, impervious, We are snow, rain, cold, darkness, we are each product

and influence of the globe, We have circled and circled till we have arrived home

again, we two, We have voided all but freedom and all but our own joy.

Facing west from California's shores,
Inquiring, tireless, seeking what is yet unfound,
I, a child, very old, over waves, towards the house of

maternity, the land of migrations, look afar, Look off the shores of my Western sea, the circle almost

circled ; For starting westward from Hindustan, from the vales of

Kashmere, From Asia, from the north, from the God, the sage, and

the hero, From the south, from the flowery peninsulas and the spice

islands, Long having wander'd since, round the earth having

wander'd, Now I face home again, very pleas’d and joyous, (But where is what I started for so long ago? And why is it yet unfound ?)


In paths untrodden,
In the growth by margins of pond-waters,
Escaped from the life that exhibits itself,
From all the standards hitherto publish'd, from the pleas-

ures, profits, conformities, Which too long I was offering to feed my soul, Clear to me now standards not yet publish’d, clear to me

that my soul, That the soul of the man I speak for rejoices in comrades, Here by myself away from the clank of the world, Tallying and talk'd to here by tongues aromatic, No longer abash’d, (for in this secluded spot I can respond

as I would not dare elsewhere,) Strong upon me the life that does not exhibit itself, yet

contains all the rest, Resolv'd to sing no songs to-day but those of manly

attachment, Projecting them along that substantial life, Bequeathing hence types of athletic love, Afternoon this delicious Ninth-month in my forty-first year, I proceed for all who are or have been young men, To tell the secret of my nights and days, To celebrate the need of comrades.

Come, I will make the continent indissoluble,
I will make the most splendid race the sun ever shone

I will make divine magnetic lands,

With the love of comrades,

With the life-long love of comrades. 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,

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