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Walt Whitman

(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892 / New York / United States)

Give Me The Splendid, Silent Sun



GIVE me the splendid silent sun, with all his beams full-dazzling;
Give me juicy autumnal fruit, ripe and red from the orchard;
Give me a field where the unmow'd grass grows;
Give me an arbor, give me the trellis'd grape;
Give me fresh corn and wheat--give me serene-moving animals, teaching
content;
Give me nights perfectly quiet, as on high plateaus west of the
Mississippi, and I looking up at the stars;
Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers, where I can
walk undisturb'd;
Give me for marriage a sweet-breath'd woman, of whom I should never
tire;
Give me a perfect child--give me, away, aside from the noise of the
world, a rural, domestic life;
Give me to warble spontaneous songs, reliev'd, recluse by myself, for
my own ears only; 10
Give me solitude--give me Nature--give me again, O Nature, your
primal sanities!
--These, demanding to have them, (tired with ceaseless excitement,
and rack'd by the war-strife;)
These to procure, incessantly asking, rising in cries from my heart,
While yet incessantly asking, still I adhere to my city;
Day upon day, and year upon year, O city, walking your streets,
Where you hold me enchain'd a certain time, refusing to give me up;
Yet giving to make me glutted, enrich'd of soul--you give me forever
faces;
(O I see what I sought to escape, confronting, reversing my cries;
I see my own soul trampling down what it ask'd for.)


Keep your splendid, silent sun; 20
Keep your woods, O Nature, and the quiet places by the woods;
Keep your fields of clover and timothy, and your corn-fields and
orchards;
Keep the blossoming buckwheat fields, where the Ninth-month bees hum;
Give me faces and streets! give me these phantoms incessant and
endless along the trottoirs!
Give me interminable eyes! give me women! give me comrades and lovers
by the thousand!
Let me see new ones every day! let me hold new ones by the hand every
day!
Give me such shows! give me the streets of Manhattan!
Give me Broadway, with the soldiers marching--give me the sound of
the trumpets and drums!
(The soldiers in companies or regiments--some, starting away, flush'd
and reckless;
Some, their time up, returning, with thinn'd ranks--young, yet very
old, worn, marching, noticing nothing;) 30
--Give me the shores and the wharves heavy-fringed with the black
ships!
O such for me! O an intense life! O full to repletion, and varied!
The life of the theatre, bar-room, huge hotel, for me!
The saloon of the steamer! the crowded excursion for me! the torch-
light procession!
The dense brigade, bound for the war, with high piled military wagons
following;
People, endless, streaming, with strong voices, passions, pageants;
Manhattan streets, with their powerful throbs, with the beating
drums, as now;
The endless and noisy chorus, the rustle and clank of muskets, (even
the sight of the wounded;)
Manhattan crowds, with their turbulent musical chorus--with varied
chorus, and light of the sparkling eyes;
Manhattan faces and eyes forever for me. 40

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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Comments about this poem (Give Me The Splendid, Silent Sun by Walt Whitman )

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  • Jane Moon (5/14/2009 1:12:00 PM)

    Here is the vivid contrast between the excitement of the city and richness of the countryside. Under the sun, the country seems filled with the essence of life, richness and plenty, peace and calm. The city, filled with noise and turbulence, exudes enticements, variety, passion, and activity. (Report) Reply

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