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Leaves of Grass
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Leaves of Grass
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  • …Niagara, the cataract falling like a veil over my countenance, Upon a door-step, upon the horse-block of hard wood outside, Upon the race-course, or enjoying picnics or jigs or a good game of base-ball, At he-festivals, with blackguard gibes, ironical license, bull-dances, drinking, laughter, At the cider-mill tasting the sweets of the brown mash, sucking the juice through a straw, At apple-peelings wanting kisses for all the red fruit I find, At musters, beach-parties, friendly bees,…
  • Poet: My limbs, my veins dilate, my theme is clear at last, Banner so broad advancing out of the night, I sing you haughty and resolute, I burst through where I waited long, too long, deafen’d and blinded, My hearing and tongue are come to me, (a little child taught me,) I hear from above O pennant of war your ironical call and demand, Insensate! insensate!

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  • …riches, You shall scatter with lavish hand all that you earn or achieve, You but arrive at the city to which you were destin’d, you hardly settle yourself to satisfaction before you are call’d by an irresistible call to depart, You shall be treated to the ironical smiles and mockings of those who remain behind you, What beckonings of love you receive you shall only answer with passionate kisses of parting, You shall not allow the hold of those who spread their reach’d hands toward you.
  • …vast cities, travelers, Kanada, the snows; Always these compact lands tied at the hips with the belt stringing the huge oval lakes; Always the West with strong native persons, the increasing density there, the habitans, friendly, threatening, ironical, scorning invaders; All sights, South, North, East—all deeds, promiscuously done at all times, All characters, movements, growths, a few noticed, myriads unnoticed, Through Mannahatta’s streets I walking, these things gathering, On…
  • …your immortal strong nutriment, Long had I walk’d my cities, my country roads through farms, only half satisfied, One doubt nauseous undulating like a snake, crawl’d on the ground before me, Continually preceding my steps, turning upon me oft, ironically hissing low; The cities I loved so well I abandon’d and left, I sped to the certainties suitable to me, Hungering, hungering, hungering, for primal energies and Nature’s dauntlessness, I refresh’d myself with it only, I could relish it…
  • …very earth, Oppress’d with myself that I have dared to open my mouth, Aware now that amid all that blab whose echoes recoil upon me I have not once had the least idea who or what I am, But that before all my arrogant poems the real Me stands yet untouch’d, untold, altogether unreach’d, Withdrawn far, mocking me with mock-congratulatory signs and bows, With peals of distant ironical laughter at every word I have written, Pointing in silence to these songs, and then to the sand beneath.
  • A man is a summons and challenge, (It is vain to skulk—do you hear that mocking and laughter? do you hear the ironical echoes?
  • ) from distant sky-clouds’ blended shapes, As some old tree, or rock or cliff, thrill’d with its soul, Product of Nature’s sun, stars, earth direct—a towering human form, In hunting-shirt of film, arm’d with the rifle, a half-ironical smile curving its phantom lips, Like one of Ossian’s ghosts looks down.

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To see samples from other sources, click a word sense below:
as in: situational irony Define
when what happens is very different than what might be expected; or when things seem incongruous together -- especially when amusing or an entertaining coincidence
as in: verbal irony Define
saying or writing one thing, while meaning the opposite or something else -- usually as humor or sarcasm
as in: dramatic irony Define
when the meaning of a situation is understood by the reader or audience but not by the characters in the story (such as in the play, Romeo and Juliet)
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