WRD 104: Composition & Rhetoric II Rotating Header Image

Leaves of Grass

Depending on the device that you read this on the first time, the formatting may have been wildly distorted, so here it is again:

Preface to Leaves of Grass
Walt Whitman (1855)

This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.

From Leaves of Grass
# 231. To a Pupil

Is reform needed? Is it through you? The greater the reform needed, the greater the personality you need to accomplish it.

You! do you not see how it would serve to have eyes, blood, complexion, clean and sweet?

Do you not see how it would serve to have such a Body and Soul, that when you enter the crowd, an atmosphere of desire and command enters with you, and every one is impress’d with your personality?

O the magnet! the flesh over and over!

Go, dear friend! if need be, give up all else, and commence today to inure yourself to pluck, reality, self-esteem, definiteness, elevatedness;

Rest not, till you rivet and publish yourself of your own personality.