Walt Whitman: Poems

Walt Whitman: Song at Sunset


Splendour of ended day, floating and filling me!

Hour prophetic--hour resuming the past:

Inflating my throat--you, divine Average!

You, Earth and Life, till the last ray gleams, I sing.


Open mouth of my soul, uttering gladness,

Eyes of my soul, seeing perfection,

Natural life of me, faithfully praising things;

Corroborating for ever the triumph of things.


Illustrious every one!

Illustrious what we name space--sphere of unnumbered spirits;

Illustrious the mystery of motion, in all beings, even the tiniest insect;

Illustrious the attribute of speech--the senses--the body;

Illustrious the passing light! Illustrious the pale reflection on the new

moon in the western sky!

Illustrious whatever I see, or hear, or touch, to the last.

Good in all,

In the satisfaction and _aplomb_ of animals,

In the annual return of the seasons,

In the hilarity of youth,

In the strength and flush of manhood,

In the grandeur and exquisiteness of old age,

In the superb vistas of Death.

Wonderful to depart;

Wonderful to be here!

The heart, to jet the all-alike and innocent blood,

To breathe the air, how delicious!

To speak! to walk! to seize something by the hand!

To prepare for sleep, for bed--to look on my rose-coloured flesh,

To be conscious of my body, so happy, so large,

To be this incredible God I am,

To have gone forth among other Gods--those men and women I love.

Wonderful how I celebrate you and myself!

How my thoughts play subtly at the spectacles around!

How the clouds pass silently overhead!

How the earth darts on and on! and how the sun, moon, stars, dart on and


How the water sports and sings! (Surely it is alive!)

How the trees rise and stand up--with strong trunks--with branches and


Surely there is something more in each of the trees--some living soul.

O amazement of things! even the least particle!

O spirituality of things!

O strain musical, flowing through ages and continents--now reaching me and


I take your strong chords--I intersperse them, and cheerfully pass them


I too carol the sun, ushered, or at noon, or, as now, setting,

I too throb to the brain and beauty of the earth, and of all the growths of

the earth,

I too have felt the resistless call of myself.

As I sailed down the Mississippi,

As I wandered over the prairies,

As I have lived--As I have looked through my windows, my eyes,

As I went forth in the morning--As I beheld the light breaking in the east;

As I bathed on the beach of the Eastern Sea, and again on the beach of the

Western Sea;

As I roamed the streets of inland Chicago-whatever streets I have roamed;

Wherever I have been, I have charged myself with contentment and triumph.

I sing the Equalities;

I sing the endless finales of things;

I say Nature continues--Glory continues;

I praise with electric voice:

For I do not see one imperfection in the universe;

And I do not see one cause or result lamentable at last in the universe.

O setting sun! though the time has come,

I still warble under you unmitigated adoration.