Small is the theme of the following Chant, yet the greatest—namely, One’s-Self — that wondrous thing a simple, [separate]1 person. That, for the use of the New World, I sing. Man’s physiology complete, from top to toe, I sing. Not physiognomy alone, nor brain alone, is worthy for the muse; — I say the Form complete is worthier far. The female equal with the male, I sing, Nor cease at the theme of One’s-Self. I speak the word of the modern, the word En-Masse: My Days I sing, and the Lands — with interstice I knew of hapless War. O friend whoe’er you are, at last arriving hither to commence, I feel through every leaf the pressure of your hand, which I return. And thus upon our journey link'd together let us go.
Note: line breaks have been added to this piece of prose.
Confirmed with Whitman, Walt. Leaves of Grass. Philadelphia: David McKay, [c1900]; Bartleby.com, 1999. www.bartleby.com/142/315.html.
1 Fine: "sep'rate"
- by Walt Whitman (1819 - 1892), "Inscription", appears in Leaves of Grass, first published 1900 [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by Vivian Fine (1913 - 2000), "Inscription", 1986, first performed 1987 [vocal duet with piano], from Inscriptions, no. 5. [text verified 1 time]
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website: 2014-08-20
Line count: 17
Word count: 133