Nonfiction > Walt Whitman > Prose Works > IV. Pieces in Early Youth > 13. Wounded in the House of Friends
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Walt Whitman (1819–1892).  Prose Works. 1892.
  
IV. Pieces in Early Youth
13. Wounded in the House of Friends
  
        
“And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thy hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.”—Zechariah, xiii. 6.
  
  IF thou art balk’d, O Freedom,
The victory is not to thy manlier foes;
From the house of friends comes the death stab.
  
  Virginia, mother of greatness,
Blush not for being also mother of slaves;
You might have borne deeper slaves—
Doughfaces, crawlers, lice of humanity—
Terrific screamers of freedom,
Who roar and bawl, and get hot i’ the face,
But were they not incapable of august crime,
Would quench the hopes of ages for a drink—
Muck-worms, creeping flat to the ground,
A dollar dearer to them than Christ’s blessing;
All loves, all hopes, less than the thought of gain,
In life walking in that as in a shroud;
Men whom the throes of heroes,
Great deeds at which the gods might stand appal’d,
The shriek of the drown’d, the appeal of women,
The exulting laugh of untied empires,
Would touch them never in the heart,
But only in the pocket.
  
  Hot-headed Carolina,
Well may you curl your lip;
With all your bondsmen, bless the destiny
Which brings you no such breed as this.
  
  Arise, young North!
Our elder blood flows in the veins of cowards:
The gray-hair’d sneak, the blanch’d poltroon,
The feign’d or real shiverer at tongues
That nursing babes need hardly cry the less for—
Are they to be our tokens always?
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