So Long

Walt Whitman

To conclude—I announce what comes after me;   
I announce mightier offspring, orators, days, and then, for the present, depart.
I remember I said, before my leaves sprang at all,   
I would raise my voice jocund and strong, with reference to consummations.   
When America does what was promis’d,
When there are plentiful athletic bards, inland and seaboard,   
When through These States walk a hundred millions of superb persons,   
When the rest part away for superb persons, and contribute to them,   
When breeds of the most perfect mothers denote America,   
Then to me and mine our due fruition.
I have press’d through in my own right,   
I have sung the Body and the Soul—War and Peace have I sung,   
And the songs of Life and of Birth—and shown that there are many births:   
I have offer’d my style to everyone—I have journey’d with confident step;   
While my pleasure is yet at the full, I whisper, So long!
And take the young woman’s hand, and the young man’s hand, for the last time.   
I announce natural persons to arise;   
I announce justice triumphant;   
I announce uncompromising liberty and equality;   
I announce the justification of candor, and the justification of pride.
I announce that the identity of These States is a single identity only;   
I announce the Union more and more compact, indissoluble;   
I announce splendors and majesties to make all the previous politics of the earth
I announce adhesiveness—I say it shall be limitless, unloosen’d;   
I say you shall yet find the friend you were looking for.
I announce a man or woman coming—perhaps you are the one, (So long!)   
I announce the great individual, fluid as Nature, chaste, affectionate,
     compassionate, fully armed.   
I announce a life that shall be copious, vehement, spiritual, bold;   
I announce an end that shall lightly and joyfully meet its translation;   
I announce myriads of youths, beautiful, gigantic, sweet-blooded;
I announce a race of splendid and savage old men.   
O thicker and faster! (So long!)   
O crowding too close upon me;   
I foresee too much—it means more than I thought;   
It appears to me I am dying.
Hasten throat, and sound your last!   
Salute me—salute the days once more. Peal the old cry once more.   
Screaming electric, the atmosphere using,   
At random glancing, each as I notice absorbing,   
Swiftly on, but a little while alighting,
Curious envelop’d messages delivering,   
Sparkles hot, seed ethereal, down in the dirt dropping,   
Myself unknowing, my commission obeying, to question it never daring,   
To ages, and ages yet, the growth of the seed leaving,   
To troops out of me, out of the army, the war arising—they the tasks I have
     set promulging,  
To women certain whispers of myself bequeathing—their affection me more
     clearly explaining,  
To young men my problems offering—no dallier I—I the muscle of their
     brains trying,   
So I pass—a little time vocal, visible, contrary;   
Afterward, a melodious echo, passionately bent for—(death making me really
The best of me then when no longer visible—for toward that I have been
     incessantly preparing.
What is there more, that I lag and pause, and crouch extended with unshut mouth?   
Is there a single final farewell?   
My songs cease—I abandon them;   
From behind the screen where I hid I advance personally, solely to you.   
Camerado! This is no book;
Who touches this, touches a man;   
(Is it night? Are we here alone?)   
It is I you hold, and who holds you;   
I spring from the pages into your arms—decease calls me forth.   
O how your fingers drowse me!
Your breath falls around me like dew—your pulse lulls the tympans of my
I feel immerged from head to foot;   
Enough, O deed impromptu and secret!   
Enough, O gliding present! Enough, O summ’d-up past!
Dear friend, whoever you are, take this kiss,   
I give it especially to you—Do not forget me;   
I feel like one who has done work for the day, to retire awhile;   
I receive now again of my many translations—from my avataras ascending—while others
     doubtless await me;   
An unknown sphere, more real than I dream’d, more direct, darts awakening rays
     about me—So long!
Remember my words—I may again return,   
I love you—I depart from materials;   
I am as one disembodied, triumphant, dead.

Poems by This Author

A child said, What is the grass? by Walt Whitman
A child said, What is the grass? fetching it to me with full
A Clear Midnight by Walt Whitman
This is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
A Noiseless Patient Spider by Walt Whitman
A noiseless patient spider
A Woman Waits for Me by Walt Whitman
A woman waits for me, she contains all, nothing is lacking,
America by Walt Whitman
Centre of equal daughters, equal sons,
Among the Multitude by Walt Whitman
Among the men and women, the multitude
As I Walk These Broad Majestic Days by Walt Whitman
As I walk these broad majestic days of peace
Calamus [In Paths Untrodden] by Walt Whitman
In paths untrodden
Come Up From the Fields Father by Walt Whitman
Come up from the fields father, here's a letter from our Pete,
Come, said my Soul by Walt Whitman
Come, said my Soul
Continuities by Walt Whitman
Nothing is ever really lost, or can be lost
Crossing Brooklyn Ferry by Walt Whitman
Flood-tide below me! I watch you face to face
Delicate Cluster by Walt Whitman
Delicate cluster! flag of teeming life
Election Day, November, 1884 by Walt Whitman
If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest scene and show
Excelsior by Walt Whitman
Who has gone farthest? for I would go farther,
I Hear America Singing by Walt Whitman
I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
I Sing the Body Electric by Walt Whitman
I sing the body electric,
Mannahatta by Walt Whitman
I was asking for something specific and perfect for my city
Miracles by Walt Whitman
Why, who makes much of a miracle
O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman
O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, The
O Me! O Life! by Walt Whitman
On the Beach at Night Alone by Walt Whitman
On the beach at night alone
Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking by Walt Whitman
Out of the cradle endlessly rocking,
Out of the Rolling Ocean, the Crowd by Walt Whitman
Out of the rolling ocean, the crowd, came a drop gently to me
Passage to India by Walt Whitman
Singing my days
Sometimes with One I Love by Walt Whitman
Sometimes with one I love I fill myself with rage for fear I
Song of Myself, I, II, VI & LII by Walt Whitman
I celebrate myself,
Song of Myself, III by Walt Whitman
I have heard what the talkers were talking, the talk of the beginning and the end
Song of Myself, X by Walt Whitman
Alone far in the wilds and mountains I hunt,
Song of Myself, XI by Walt Whitman
Twenty-eight young men bathe by the shore
Spirit that Form'd this Scene by Walt Whitman
Spirit that form'd this scene,
Spontaneous Me by Walt Whitman
Spontaneous me, Nature
The Indications [excerpt] by Walt Whitman
The words of the true poems give you more than poems
The Sleepers by Walt Whitman
I wander all night in my vision
The Untold Want by Walt Whitman
The untold want, by life and land ne’er granted
The Wound-Dresser by Walt Whitman
An old man bending I come among new faces
This Compost by Walt Whitman
Something startles me where I thought I was safest
Thoughts by Walt Whitman
OF the visages of things—And of piercing through
To a Locomotive in Winter by Walt Whitman
Thee for my recitative!
To Think of Time by Walt Whitman
To think of time—of all that retrospection
To You by Walt Whitman
Whoever you are, I fear you are walking the walks of dreams,
Unfolded Out of the Folds by Walt Whitman
Unfolded out of the folds of the woman, man comes unfolded, and is always to come unfolded
Washington's Monument, February, 1885 by Walt Whitman
Ah, not this marble, dead and cold
When I Heard at the Close of Day by Walt Whitman
When I heard at the close of the day how my name had been receiv'd
When I Heard the Learned Astronomer by Walt Whitman
When I heard the learn'd astronomer,
When Lilacs Last in the Door-yard Bloom'd by Walt Whitman
When lilacs last in the door-yard bloom'd
Whoever You Are Holding Me Now in Hand by Walt Whitman
Whoever you are, holding me now in hand
World Below the Brine by Walt Whitman
The world below the brine

Further Reading

Poems About Farewells
A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning
by John Donne
Before the Deployment
by Jehanne Dubrow
by Carl Sandburg
by John Clare
Farewell to Yang, Who's Leaving for Kuo-chou
by Wang Wei
Good Night
by Wilhelm Müller
Kissing Stieglitz Good-Bye
by Gerald Stern
Late August on the Lido
by John Hollander
Losing Track
by Denise Levertov
by Christina Rossetti
Since Hannah Moved Away
by Judith Viorst
Verses upon the Burning of our House
by Anne Bradstreet
When We Two Parted
by George Gordon Byron