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Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman
Born on May 31, 1819, Walt Whitman is the author of Leaves of Grass...
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Related Prose
Walking Tour: Walt Whitman's SoHo Historic District in New York City
by Elizabeth Kray
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Mannahatta

 
by Walt Whitman

I was asking for something specific and perfect for my city, 
Whereupon lo! upsprang the aboriginal name.

Now I see what there is in a name, a word, liquid, sane, 
   unruly, musical, self-sufficient,
I see that the word of my city is that word from of old, 
Because I see that word nested in nests of water-bays,
   superb,
Rich, hemm'd thick all around with sailships and 
   steamships, an island sixteen miles long, solid-founded,
Numberless crowded streets, high growths of iron, slender, 
   strong, light, splendidly uprising toward clear skies,
Tides swift and ample, well-loved by me, toward sundown, 
The flowing sea-currents, the little islands, larger adjoining
   islands, the heights, the villas,
The countless masts, the white shore-steamers, the lighters, 
   the ferry-boats, the black sea-steamers well-model'd,
The down-town streets, the jobbers' houses of business, the 
   houses of business of the ship-merchants and money-
   brokers, the river-streets,
Immigrants arriving, fifteen or twenty thousand in a week, 
The carts hauling goods, the manly race of drivers of horses,
   the brown-faced sailors,
The summer air, the bright sun shining, and the sailing 
   clouds aloft,
The winter snows, the sleigh-bells, the broken ice in the 
   river, passing along up or down with the flood-tide or 
   ebb-tide,
The mechanics of the city, the masters, well-form'd, 
   beautiful-faced, looking you straight in the eyes,
Trottoirs throng'd, vehicles, Broadway, the women, the 
   shops and shows,
A million people--manners free and superb--open voices--
   hospitality--the most courageous and friendly young 
   men,
City of hurried and sparkling waters! city of spires and masts! 
City nested in bays! my city!






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