24 Top Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass Quotes (the 1855 1st Edition)

Enjoy 25 Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass quotes pulled from his original 1855 1st edition text---lines that are as fresh and powerful today as then.

24 Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass Quotes

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Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass

1. “…read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body. . .” Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (“Introduction” pg. 4)

2. “What is a man anyhow? What am I? and what are you?” Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (pg. 16)

3. “To me the converging objects of the universe perpetually flow, All are written to me, and I must get what the writing means.” Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (pg. 16)

4. “I talk wildly . . . . I have lost my wits . . . . I and nobody else am the greatest traitor” Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (pg. 19)

5. “All truths wait in all things” Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (pg. 19)

6. “I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journeywork of the stars” Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (pg. 19)

7. “Swift wind! Space! My Soul! Now I know it is true what I guessed at; What I guessed when I loafed on the grass, What I guessed while I lay alone in my bed . . . . and again as I walked the beach under the paling stars of the morning. My ties and ballasts leave me . . . . I travel . . . . I sail . . . . my elbows rest in the sea-gaps” Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (pg. 20)

8. “I know I have the best of time and space—and that I was never measured, and never will be measured. I tramp a perpetual journey, My signs are a rain-proof coat and good shoes and a staff cut from the woods; No friend of mine takes his ease in my chair, I have no chair, nor church nor philosophy; I lead no man to a dinner-table or library or exchange, But each man and each woman of you I lead upon a knoll, My left hand hooks you round the waist, My right hand points to landscapes of continents, and a plain” Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (pg. 27)

9. “Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you, You must travel it for yourself. It is not far . . . . it is within reach, Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know, Perhaps it is every where on water and on land. Shoulder your duds, and I will mine, and let us hasten forth; Wonderful cities and free nations we shall fetch as we go. If you tire, give me both burdens, and rest the chuff of your hand on my hip, And in due time you shall repay the same service to me; For after we start we never lie by again. This day before dawn I ascended a hill and looked at the crowded heaven, And I said to my spirit, When we become the enfolders of
those orbs and the plea- sure and knowledge of every thing in them, shall we be filled and satisfied then? And my spirit said No, we level that lift to pass and continue beyond.” Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (pg. 27)

10. “You are also asking me questions, and I hear you; I answer that I cannot answer . . . . you must find out for yourself.” Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (pg. 28)

11. “Sit awhile wayfarer, Here are biscuits to eat and here is milk to drink, But as soon as you sleep and renew yourself in sweet clothes I will certainly kiss you with my goodbye kiss and open the gate for your egress hence. Long enough have you dreamed contemptible dreams, Now I wash the gum from your eyes, You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of every moment of your life Long have you timidly waded, holding a plank by the shore, Now I will you to be a bold swimmer, To jump off in the midst of the sea, and rise again and nod to me and shout, and laughingly dash with your hair.” Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (pg. 28)

12. “He most honors my style who learns under it to destroy the teacher.” Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (pg. 28)

13. “I hear and behold God in every object, yet I understand God not in the least” Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (pg. 28)

14. “There is that in me . . . . I do not know what it is . . . . but I know it is in me. Wrenched and sweaty . . . . calm and cool then my body becomes; I sleep . . . . I sleep long. I do not know it . . . . it is without name . . . . it is a word unsaid, It is not in any dictionary or utterance or symbol. Something it swings on more than the earth I swing on, To it the creation is the friend whose embracing awakes me.” Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass (pg. 28-29)

15. “Who wishes to walk with me? Will you speak before I am gone? Will you prove already too late?” Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass (pg. 29)

16. “I too am not a bit tamed . . . . I too am untranslatable, I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.” Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass (pg. 29)

Walt whitman leaves of grass quotes

17. “If you want me again look for me under your bootsoles. You will hardly know who I am or what I mean, But I shall be good health to you nevertheless, And filter and fibre your blood. Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged, Missing me one place search another, I stop some where waiting for you” Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass (pg. 29)

18. “If you see a good deal remarkable in me I see just as much remarkable in you. Why what have you thought of yourself? Is it you then that thought yourself less? Is it you that thought the President greater than you? or the rich better off than you? or the educated wiser than you? Because you are greasy or pimpled—or that you was once drunk, or a thief, or diseased, or rheumatic, or a prostitute—or are so now—or from frivolity or impotence—or that you are no scholar, and never saw your name in print . . . do you give in that you are any less immortal?” Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass (pg. 30)

19. “There is something that comes home to one now and perpetually, It is not what is printed or preached or discussed . . . . it eludes discussion and print, It is not to be put in a book . . . . it is not in this book, It is for you whoever you are . . . . it is no farther from you than your hearing and sight are from you” Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass (pg. 30)

20. “I do not know what it is except that it is grand, and that it is happiness, And that the enclosing purport of us here is not a speculation, or bon-mot or reconnoissance, And that it is not something which by luck may turn out well for us, and without luck must be a failure for us, And not something which may yet be retracted in a certain contingency. The light and shade—the curious sense of body and identity—the greed that with perfect complaisance devours all things—the endless pride and out stretching of man— unspeakable joys and sorrows, The wonder every one sees in every one else he sees . . . . and the wonders that fill each minute of time forever and each acre of surface and space forever, 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?” Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass (pg. 30)

21. “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” Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass (pg. 31)

22. “Happiness not in another place, but this place . . not for another hour, but this hour” Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass (pg. 32)

23. “I WANDER all night in my vision, Stepping with light feet . . . . swiftly and noiselessly stepping and stopping, Bending with open eyes over the shut eyes of sleepers; Wandering and confused . . . . lost to myself . . . . ill-assorted . . . . contradictory, Pausing and gazing and bending and stopping.” Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass (pg. 35)

24. “Great is life . . and real and mystical . . wherever and whoever, Great is death . . . . Sure as life holds all parts together, death holds all parts together; Sure as the stars return again after they merge in the light, death is great as life.” Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass (pg. 45)

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