Walt Whitman: Poems

Chants Democratic: The Past-Present

I was looking a long while for the history of the past for myself, and for

these chants--and now I have found it.

It is not in those paged fables in the libraries, (them I neither accept

nor reject;)

It is no more in the legends than in all else;

It is in the present--it is this earth to-day;

It is in Democracy--in this America--the Old World also;

It is the life of one man or one woman to-day, the average man of to-day;

It is languages, social customs, literatures, arts;

It is the broad show of artificial things, ships, machinery, politics,

creeds, modern improvements, and the interchange of nations,

All for the average man of to-day.