Verse > Walt Whitman > Leaves of Grass

Walt Whitman (1819–1892).  Leaves of Grass.  1900.

274. Italian Music in Dakota

THROUGH the soft evening air enwrinding all, 
Rocks, woods, fort, cannon, pacing sentries, endless wilds, 
In dulcet streams, in flutes’ and cornets’ notes, 
Electric, pensive, turbulent artificial, 
(Yet strangely fitting even here, meanings unknown before,         5
Subtler than ever, more harmony, as if born here, related here, 
Not to the city’s fresco’d rooms, not to the audience of the opera house, 
Sounds, echoes, wandering strains, as really here at home, 
Sonnambula’s innocent love, trios with Norma’s anguish, 
And thy ecstatic chorus Poliuto;)  10
Ray’d in the limpid yellow slanting sundown, 
Music, Italian music in Dakota. 
While Nature, sovereign of this gnarl’d realm, 
Lurking in hidden barbaric grim recesses, 
Acknowledging rapport however far remov’d,  15
(As some old root or soil of earth its last-born flower or fruit,) 
Listens well pleas’d. 



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