Format: Global Grey free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook
Pages (PDF): 920
Publication Date: 1855
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Leaves of Grass is a compilation of over 400 poems. Though the first edition was published in 1855, Whitman spent his entire life writing and re-writing Leaves of Grass, revising it in several editions until his death. This resulted in vastly different editions over four decades; the first a small book of twelve poems and the last (this one).
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As I ponder'd in silence,
Returning upon my poems, considering, lingering long,
A Phantom arose before me with distrustful aspect,
Terrible in beauty, age, and power,
The genius of poets of old lands,
As to me directing like flame its eyes,
With finger pointing to many immortal songs,
And menacing voice, What singest thou? it said,
Know'st thou not there is but one theme for ever-enduring bards?
And that is the theme of War, the fortune of battles,
The making of perfect soldiers.
Be it so, then I answer'd,
I too haughty Shade also sing war, and a longer and greater one than any,
Waged in my book with varying fortune, with flight, advance
and retreat, victory deferr'd and wavering,
(Yet methinks certain, or as good as certain, at the last,) the
field the world,
For life and death, for the Body and for the eternal Soul,
Lo, I too am come, chanting the chant of battles,
I above all promote brave soldiers.