What Best I See in Thee (LoG)

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from Leaves of Grass: BOOK XXXII. FROM NOON TO STARRY NIGHT - by Walt Whitman.

[To U. S. G. return’d from his World’s Tour]

  What best I see in thee,
  Is not that where thou mov’st down history’s great highways,
  Ever undimm’d by time shoots warlike victory’s dazzle,
  Or that thou sat’st where Washington sat, ruling the land in peace,
  Or thou the man whom feudal Europe feted, venerable Asia swarm’d upon,
  Who walk’d with kings with even pace the round world’s promenade;
  But that in foreign lands, in all thy walks with kings,
  Those prairie sovereigns of the West, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois,
  Ohio’s, Indiana’s millions, comrades, farmers, soldiers, all to the front,
  Invisibly with thee walking with kings with even pace the round
      world’s promenade,
  Were all so justified.
Spirit That Form’d This Scene
  [Written in Platte Canyon, Colorado]

  Spirit that form’d this scene,
  These tumbled rock-piles grim and red,
  These reckless heaven-ambitious peaks,
  These gorges, turbulent-clear streams, this naked freshness,
  These formless wild arrays, for reasons of their own,
  I know thee, savage spirit—we have communed together,
  Mine too such wild arrays, for reasons of their own;
  Wast charged against my chants they had forgotten art?
  To fuse within themselves its rules precise and delicatesse?
  The lyrist’s measur’d beat, the wrought-out temple’s grace—column
      and polish’d arch forgot?
  But thou that revelest here—spirit that form’d this scene,
  They have remember’d thee.

 

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