HumanitiesWeb.org - Walt Whitman - The Great Grey Poet [Quotations]
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Walt Whitman
Quotations



"He [Bryant] touches the highest universal truths, enthusiasms, duties- morals as grim and eternal, if not as stormy and fateful, as anything in Aeschylus"

"Come, said my soul,
Such verses for my Body let us write, (for we are one,)
That should I after return,
Or, long, long hence, in other spheres,
There to some group of mates the chants resuming,
(Tallying Earth's soil, trees, winds, tumultuous waves,)
Ever with pleas'd smile I may keep on,
Ever and ever yet the verses owning--as, first, I here and now
Signing for Soul and Body, set to them my name"
- Leaves of Grass
 
"Nothing endures but personal qualities."
 
"The poet judges not as a judge judges but as the sun falling around a helpless thing."
 
"Language is not an abstract construction of the learned, or of dictionary- makers, but is something arising out of the work, needs, ties, joys, affections, tastes, of long generations of humanity, and has its bases broad and low, close to the ground."
 
"Books are to be called for, and supplied, on the assumption that the process of reading is not a half sleep, but, in the highest sense, an exercise, a gymnast's struggle; that the reader is to do something for himself."
 
"After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, and so on - have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear - what remains? Nature remains. "
 
"Never before did I get so close to Nature; never before did she come so close to me... Nature was naked, and I was also... Sweet, sane, still Nakedness in Nature! - ah if poor, sick, prurient humanity in cities might really know you once more! Is not nakedness the indecent? No, not inherently. It is your thought, your sophistication, your fear, your respectability, that is indecent. There come moods when these clothes of ours are not only too irksome to wear, but are themselves indecent. Perhaps indeed he or she to whom the free exhilarating extasy of nakedness in Nature has never been eligible (and how many thousands there are!) has not really known what purity is--nor what faith or art or health really is. "
 
"I never knew of but one artist, and this is Tom Eakins, who could resist the temptation to see what they think ought to be rather than what is."
 
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