Walt Whitman

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

Long I Thought That Knowledge


LONG I thought that knowledge alone would suffice me--O if I could
but obtain knowledge!
Then my lands engrossed me--Lands of the prairies, Ohio's land, the
southern savannas, engrossed me--For them I would live--I would
be their orator;
Then I met the examples of old and new heroes--I heard of warriors,
sailors, and all dauntless persons--And it seemed to me that I
too had it in me to be as dauntless as any--and would be so;
And then, to enclose all, it came to me to strike up the songs of the
New World--And then I believed my life must be spent in
singing;
But now take notice, land of the prairies, land of the south
savannas, Ohio's land,
Take notice, you Kanuck woods--and you Lake Huron--and all that with
you roll toward Niagara--and you Niagara also,
And you, Californian mountains--That you each and all find somebody
else to be your singer of songs,
For I can be your singer of songs no longer--One who loves me is
jealous of me, and withdraws me from all but love,
With the rest I dispense--I sever from what I thought would suffice
me, for it does not--it is now empty and tasteless to me,
I heed knowledge, and the grandeur of The States, and the example of
heroes, no more, 10
I am indifferent to my own songs--I will go with him I love,
It is to be enough for us that we are together--We never separate
again.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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