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About this Poem 

“Song of the Open Road, IV” was published in Leaves of Grass (David McKay, 1891-92).

Song of the Open Road, IV

The earth expanding right hand and left hand,
The picture alive, every part in its best light,
The music falling in where it is wanted, and stopping where it is      not wanted,
The cheerful voice of the public road, the gay fresh sentiment       of the road.

O highway I travel, do you say to me Do not leave me?
Do you say Venture not—if you leave me you are lost?
Do you say I am already prepared, I am well-beaten and                   undenied, adhere to me?

O public road, I say back I am not afraid to leave you, yet I love       you,
You express me better than I can express myself,
You shall be more to me than my poem.

I think heroic deeds were all conceiv’d in the open air, and all          free poems also,
I think I could stop here myself and do miracles,
I think whatever I shall meet on the road I shall like, and                  whoever beholds me shall like me,
I think whoever I see must be happy.

 

This poem is in the public domain. 

This poem is in the public domain. 

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

Born on May 31, 1819, Walt Whitman is the author of Leaves of Grass and, along with Emily Dickinson, is considered one of the architects of a uniquely American poetic voice. 

by this poet

poem

Who has gone farthest? for I would go farther,
And who has been just? for I would be the most just person of the earth,
And who most cautious? for I would be more cautious,
And who has been happiest? O I think it is I—I think no one was ever happier than I,
And who has lavish'd all? for I lavish

poem
1

Flood-tide below me! I watch you face to face;   
Clouds of the west! sun there half an hour high! I see you also face to face.   
   
Crowds of men and women attired in the usual costumes! how curious you
          are to me!   
On the ferry-boats, the hundreds and hundreds that cross, returning home
2
poem
Whoever you are, I fear you are walking the walks of
   dreams,
I fear these supposed realities are to melt from under your 
   feet and hands,
Even now your features, joys, speech, house, trade, manners, 
   troubles, follies, costume, crimes, dissipate away from you,
Your true soul and body appear before me,