Verse > Walt Whitman > Leaves of Grass

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

318. Poem of Remembrance for a Girl or a Boy

YOU just maturing youth! You male or female! 
Remember the organic compact of These States, 
Remember the pledge of the Old Thirteen thenceforward to the rights, life, liberty, equality of man, 
Remember what was promulged by the founders, ratified by The States, signed in black and white by the Commissioners, and read by Washington at the head of the army, 
Remember the purposes of the founders,—Remember Washington;         5
Remember the copious humanity streaming from every direction toward America; 
Remember the hospitality that belongs to nations and men; (Cursed be nation, woman, man, without hospitality!) 
Remember, government is to subserve individuals, 
Not any, not the President, is to have one jot more than you or me, 
Not any habitan of America is to have one jot less than you or me.  10
Anticipate when the thirty or fifty millions, are to become the hundred, or two hundred millions, of equal freemen and freewomen, amicably joined. 
Recall ages—One age is but a part—ages are but a part; 
Recall the angers, bickerings, delusions, superstitions, of the idea of caste, 
Recall the bloody cruelties and crimes. 
Anticipate the best women;  15
I say an unnumbered new race of hardy and well-defined women are to spread through all These States, 
I say a girl fit for These States must be free, capable, dauntless, just the same as a boy. 
Anticipate your own life—retract with merciless power, 
Shirk nothing—retract in time—Do you see those errors, diseases, weaknesses, lies, thefts? 
Do you see that lost character?—Do you see decay, consumption, rum-drinking, dropsy, fever, mortal cancer or inflammation?  20
Do you see death, and the approach of death? 



Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.