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This man was of wonderful vigor, calmness, beauty of person,
The shape of his head, the pale yellow and white of his hair and

beard, the immeasurable meaning of his black eyes, the

richness and breadth of his manners, These I used to go and visit him to see, he was wise also, He was six feet tall, he was over eighty years old, his sons were

massive, clean, bearded, tan-faced, handsome, They and his daughters loved him, all who saw him loved him, They did not love him by allowance, they loved him with personal

love, He drank water only, the blood show'd like scarlet through the

clear-brown skin of his face, He was a frequent gunner and fisher, he sail'd his boat himself,

he had a fine one presented to him by a ship-joiner, he had fowling-pieces presented to him by men that loved

him, When he went with his five sons and many grand-sons to hunt or

fish, you would pick him out as the most beautiful and

vigorous of the gang, You would wish long and long to be with him, you would wish to

sit by him in the boat that you and he might touch each other.

4 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, laughing 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 look

ing 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.

5 This is the female form, A divine nimbus exhales from it from head to foot, It attracts with fierce undeniable attraction, I am drawn by its breath as if I were no more than a helpless

vapor, all falls aside but myself and it, Books, art, religion, time, the visible and solid earth, and what was

expected of heaven or fear'd of hell, are now consumed,

Mad filaments, ungovernable shoots play out of it, the response

likewise ungovernable, Hair, bosom, hips, bend of legs, negligent falling hands all dif

fused, mine too diffused, Ebb stung by the flow and flow stung by the ebb, love-flesh swell

ing and deliciously aching, Limitless limpid jets of love hot and enormous, quivering jelly of

love, white-blow and delirious juice, Bridegroom night of love working surely and softly into the pros

trate dawn, Undulating into the willing and yielding day, Lost in the cleave of the clasping and sweet-flesh'd day.

This the nucleus -- after the child is born of woman, man is born

of woman, This the bath of birth, this the merge of small and large, and the

outlet again.

Be not ashamed women, your privilege encloses the rest, and is the

exit of the rest, You are the gates of the body, and you are the gates of the soul. The female contains all qualities and tempers them, She is in her place and moves with perfect balance, She is all things duly veil'd, she is both passive and active, She is to conceive daughters as well as sons, and sons as well as

daughters. As I see my soul reflected in Nature, As I see through a mist, One with inexpressible completeness,

sanity, beauty, See the bent head and arms folded over the breast, the Female I see.

6 The male is not less the soul nor more, he too is in his place, He too is all qualities, he is action and power, The flush of the known universe is in him, Scorn becomes him well, and appetite and defiance become him

well, The wildest largest passions, bliss that is utmost, sorrow that is

utmost become him well, pride is for him, The full-spread pride of man is calming and excellent to the soul, Knowledge becomes him, he likes it always, he brings every thing

to the test of himself,

Whatever the survey, whatever the sea and the sail he strikes

soundings at last only here, (Where else does he strike soundings except here?)

The man's body is sacred and the woman's body is sacred,
No matter who it is, it is sacred – is it the meanest one in the

laborers' gang? Is it one of the dull-faced immigrants just landed on the wharf ? Each belongs here or anywhere just as much as the well-off, just

as much as you, Each has his or her place in the procession. (All is a procession, The universe is a procession with measured and perfect motion.)

Do you know so much yourself that you call the meanest ignorant? Do you suppose you have a right to a good sight, and he or she

has no right to a sight? Do you think matter has cohered together from its diffuse float,

and the soil is on the surface, and water runs and vegeta

tion sprouts, For you only, and not for him and her?

7 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 rollid.
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

flabby, 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 expressid 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 embodiments and


How do you know who shall come from the offspring of his off

spring through the centuries? (Who might you find you have come from yourself, if you could

trace back through the centuries ?)

8 A woman's body at auction, She too is not only herself, she is the teeming mother of mothers, She is the bearer of them that shall grow and be mates to the

mothers. Have you ever loved the body of a woman? Have you ever loved the body of a man? Do you not see that these are exactly the same to all in all nations

and times all over the earth? If any thing is sacred the human body is sacred, And the glory and sweet of a man is the token of manhoox:

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 themselves.

9 O my body! I dare not desert the likes of you in other men and

women, nor the likes of the parts of you, I believe the likes of you are to stand or fall with the likes of the

soul, (and that they are the soul,)

I believe the likes of you shall stand or fall with my poems, and

that they are my poems, Man's, woman's, child's, youth's, wife's, husband's, mother's, father's,

young man's, young woman's poems, Head, neck, hair, ears, drop and tympan of the ears, Eyes, eye-fringes, iris of the eye, eyebrows, and the waking or

sleeping of the lids, Mouth, tongue, lips, teeth, roof of the mouth, jaws, and the jaw

hinges, Nose, nostrils of the nose, and the partition, Cheeks, temples, forehead, chin, throat, back of thc neck, neck

slue, Strong shoulders, manly beard, scapula, hind-shoulders, and the

ample side-round of the chest, Upper-arm, armpit, elbow-socket, lower-arm, arm-sinews, arm

bones, Wrist and wrist-joints, hand, palm, knuckles, thumb, forefinger,

finger-joints, finger-nails, Broad breast-front, curling hair of the breast, breast-bone, breast

side, Ribs, belly, backbone, joints of the backbone, Hips, hip-sockets, hip-strength, inward and outward round, man

balls, man-root, Strong set of thighs, well carrying the trunk above, Leg-fibres, knee, knee-pan, upper-leg, under-leg, Ankles, instep, foot-bali, toes, toe-joints, the heel; All attitudes, all the shapeliness, all the belongings of my or your

body or of any one's body, male or female, The lung-sponges, the stomach-sac, the bowels sweet and clean, The brain in its folds inside the skull-frame, Sympathies, heart-valves, palate-valves, sexuality, maternity, Womanhood, and all that is a woman, and the man that comes

from woman, The womb, the teats, nipples, breast-milk, tears, laughter, weeping,

love-looks, love-perturbations and risings, The voice, articulation, language, whispering, shouting aloud, Food, drink, pulse, digestion, sweat, sleep, walking, swimming, Poise on the hips, leaping, reclining, embracing, arm-curving and

tightening, The continual changes of the flex of the mouth, and around the

eyes, The skin, the sunburnt shade, freckles, hair, The curious sympathy one feels when feeling with the hand the

naked meat of the body, The circling rivers the breath, and breathing it in and out,

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