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Leaves of Grass.

Have you reckoned them as mainly for a trade or farmwork? or for the profits of a store? or to achieve yourself a position? or to fill a gentleman’s leisure or a lady’s leisure?

Have you reckoned the landscape took substance and form that it might be painted in a picture?
Or men and women that they might be written of, and songs sung?
Or the attraction of gravity and the great laws and harmonious combinations and the fluids of the air as subjects for the savans?
Or the brown land and the blue sea for maps and charts?
Or the stars to be put in constellations and named fancy names?
Or that the growth of seeds is for agricultural tables or agriculture itself?

Old institutions .... these arts libraries legends collections – and the practice handed along in manufactures .... will we rate them so high?
Will we rate our prudence and business so high? .... I have no objection,
I rate them as high as the highest .... but a child born of a woman and man I rate beyond all rate.

We thought our Union grand and our Constitution grand;
I do not say they are not grand and good – for they are,
I am this day just as much in love with them as you,
But I am eternally in love with you and with all my fellows upon the earth.

We consider the bibles and religions divine .... I do not say they are not divine,
I say they have all grown out of you and may grow out of you still,
It is not they who give the life .... it is you who give the life;
Leaves are not more shed from the trees or trees from the earth than they are shed out of you.

The sum of all known value and respect I add up in you whoever you are;
The President is up there in the White House for you .... it is not you who are here for him,
The Secretaries act in their bureaus for you .... not you here for them,
The Congress convenes every December for you,
Laws, courts, the forming of states, the charters of cities, the going and coming of commerce and mails are all for you.

All doctrines, all politics and civilization exurge from you,
All sculpture and monuments and anything inscribed anywhere are tallied in you,
The gist of histories and statistics as far back as the records reach is in you this hour – and myths and tales the same;
If you were not breathing and walking here where would they all be?
The most renowned poems would be ashes .... orations and plays would be vacuums.