Long, long I muse, then on my way go wandering, Many a changeful season to follow, and many a scene of life, Yet at times through changeful season and scene, abrupt, alone, or in the crowded street, Comes before me the unknown soldier’s grave, comes the inscription rude in Virginia’s woods, Bold, cautious, true, and my loving comrade.
List close my scholars dear, Doctrines, politics and civilization exurge from you, Sculpture and monuments and any thing inscribed anywhere are tallied in you, The gist of histories and statistics as far back as the records reach is in you this hour, and myths and tales the same, If you were not breathing and walking here, where would they all be?
…(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, Walt Whitman BOOK I. INSCRIPTIONS One’s-Self I Sing One’s-self I sing, a simple separate person, Yet utter the word Democratic, the word En-Masse.
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The ring was inscribed with these words...
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