Love of America
Page from Whitman's notebook: "I am the poet of the slaves"
(Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Thomas Biggs Harned Walt
I am of old and young, of the foolish as much as the wise;
Regardless of others, ever regardful of others,
Maternal as well as paternal, a child as well as a man,
Stuff’d with the stuff that is coarse, and stuff’d with the stuff that is fine;
One of the Great Nation, the nation of many nations, the smallest the same, and the largest the same;
A southerner soon as a northerner—a planter nonchalant and hospitable, down by the Oconee I live;
A Yankee, bound by my own way, ready for trade, my joints the limberest joints on earth, and the sternest joints on earth;
A Kentuckian, walking the vale of the Elkhorn, in my deer-skin leggings—a Louisianian or Georgian;
A boatman over lakes or bays, or along coasts—a Hoosier, Badger, Buckeye;
At home on Kanadian snow-shoes, or up in the bush, or with fishermen off Newfoundland;
At home in the fleet of ice-boats, sailing with the rest and tacking;
At home on the hills of Vermont, or in the woods of Maine, or the Texan ranch;
Comrade of Californians—comrade of free north-westerners, (loving their big proportions;)
Comrade of raftsmen and coalmen—comrade of all who shake hands and welcome to drink and meat;
A learner with the simplest, a teacher of the thoughtfullest;
A novice beginning, yet experient of myriads of seasons;
Of every hue and caste am I, of every rank and religion;
A farmer, mechanic, artist, gentleman, sailor, quaker;
A prisoner, fancy-man, rowdy, lawyer, physician, priest.
"Song of Myself"
In 1862, Whitman left New York City and moved to Washington, D.C. He later moved to Camden,
New Jersey (just across the river from Philadelphia), where he died in 1892.
Many of the photos in the Whitman Image Gallery come from this later period, but there are enough from the earlier years to get a sense of the whole man.
Throughout his life,
Whitman truly embraced the meaning of the word "American." Read
about his "Geographical Imagination."
And finally, listen to Whitman read his poem "America":
his voice was recorded on an original Edison cylinder!
Left: Walt Whitman in 1869
(Pearsall, Frank, photographer, "Walt Whitman, half-length portrait,
seated, facing left, left hand under chin," Library of Congress,
Prints and Photographs Division, Feinberg-Whitman Collection, Prints
and Photographs Division).
This page was created by Deidre Schaefer, an English
major at Shepherd College.
Transcendentalism: An Online Travel Guide" was produced by students in
ENGL 446, American Transcendentalism, and ENGL 447, American Literature
and the Prominence of Place: A Travel Practicum. These courses were
team-taught in the Department of
English at Shepherd College,
Shepherdstown, West Virginia, in Spring 2002 by
Dr. Patricia Dwyer and
Dr. Linda Tate. For more information on the course and the web
"About This Site." © 2003 Linda Tate.