Saturday, November 28, 2009

Walt Whitman "Has any one supposed it lucky to be born ?

This edited segment of Section of "Leaves of Grass""Song of myself" is read by Orson Welles in a recording he originaly made for BBC Radio in 1953.

Walt Whitman (1819-1892 was born in Long Island, New York, the son of a Quaker carpenter. Whitman's mother was descended from Dutch farmers. In Whitman's childhood there were slaves employed on the farm. Whitman was early on filled with a love of nature. He read classics in his youth and was inspired by writers such as Goethe, Hegel, Carlyle and Emerson he is best remembered for his long rambling collections of verse "Leaves of grass
Has anyone supposed it lucky to be born?
I hasten to inform him or her it is just as lucky to die, and I know it.
I pass death with the dying and birth with the new-washed babe, and am not contained between my hat and boots,
And peruse manifold objects, no two alike and everyone good,
The earth good and the stars good, and their adjuncts all good.
I am not an earth nor an adjunct of the earth,
I am the mate and companion of people, all just as immortal and fathomless as myself,
(They do not know how immortal, but I know.)
Every kind for itself and its own, for me mine male and female,
For me those that have been boys and that love women,
For me the man that is proud and feels how it stings to be slighted,
For me the sweetheart and the old maid, for me mothers and the mothers of mothers,
For me lips that have smiled, eyes that have shed tears,
For me children and the begetters of children.
Undrape! you are not guilty to me, nor stale nor discarded,
I see through the broadcloth and gingham whether or no,
And am around, tenacious, acquisitive, tireless, and cannot be shaken away.

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