Page:Leaves of Grass (1855).djvu/93

This page has been validated.

Leaves of Grass.


He walks among the Congress .... and one representative says to another, Here is our equal appearing and new.

Then the mechanics take him for a mechanic,
And the soldiers suppose him to be a captain .... and the sailors that he has followed the sea,
And the authors take him for an author .... and the artists for an artist,
And the laborers perceive he could labor with them and love them;
No matter what the work is, that he is one to follow it or has followed it,
No matter what the nation, that he might find his brothers and sisters there.

The English believe he comes of their English stock,
A Jew to the Jew he seems .... a Russ to the Russ .... usual and near .. removed from none.

Whoever he looks at in the traveler’s coffeehouse claims him,
The Italian or Frenchman is sure, and the German is sure, and the Spaniard is sure .... and the island Cuban is sure.

The engineer, the deckhand on the great lakes or on the Mississippi or St Lawrence or Sacramento or Hudson or Delaware claims him.

The gentleman of perfect blood acknowledges his perfect blood,
The insulter, the prostitute, the angry person, the beggar, see themselves in the ways of him .... he strangely transmutes them,
They are not vile any more .... they hardly know themselves, they are so grown.

You think it would be good to be the writer of melodious verses,
Well it would be good to be the writer of melodious verses;
But what are verses beyond the flowing character you could have? .... or beyond beautiful manners and behaviour?
Or beyond one manly or affectionate deed of an apprenticeboy? .. or old woman? .. or man that has been in prison or is likely to be in prison?

Suddenly out of its stale and drowsy lair, the lair of slaves,
Like lightning Europe le’pt forth .... half startled at itself,
Its feet upon the ashes and the rags .... Its hands tight to the throats of kings.

O hope and faith! O aching close of lives! O many a sickened heart!
Turn back unto this day, and make yourselves afresh.