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   English Poetry III: From Tennyson to Whitman.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
817. Ethiopia Saluting the Colors
 
Walt Whitman (1819–1892)
 
 
WHO are you dusky woman, so ancient hardly human,
With your woolly-white and turban’d head, and bare bony feet?
Why rising by the roadside here, do you the colors greet?
 
(’Tis while our army lines Carolina’s sands and pines,
Forth from thy hovel door thou Ethiopia com’st to me,        5
As under doughty Sherman I march toward the sea.)
 
Me master years a hundred since from my parents sunder’d,
A little child, they caught me as the savage beast is caught,
Then hither me across the sea the cruel slaver brought.
 
No further does she say, but lingering all the day,        10
Her high-borne turban’d head she wags, and rolls her darkling eye,
And courtesies to the regiments, the guidons moving by.
 
What is it fateful woman, so blear, hardly human?
Why wag your head with turban bound, yellow, red and green?
Are the things so strange and marvelous you see or have seen?        15
 

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