Walt Whitman: Poems

Leaves of Grass: The Square Deific


Chanting the Square Deific, out of the One advancing, out of the sides;

Out of the old and new--out of the square entirely divine,

Solid, four-sided, (all the sides needed)--From this side JEHOVAH am I,

Old Brahm I, and I Saturnius am;

Not Time affects me--I am Time, modern as any;

Unpersuadable, relentless, executing righteous judgments;

As the Earth, the Father, the brown old Kronos, with laws,

Aged beyond computation--yet ever new--ever with those mighty laws rolling,

Relentless, I forgive no man--whoever sins dies--I will have that man's


Therefore let none expect mercy--Have the seasons, gravitation, the

appointed days, mercy?--No more have I;

But as the seasons, and gravitation--and as all the appointed days, that

forgive not,

I dispense from this side judgments inexorable, without the least remorse.


Consolator most mild, the promised one advancing,

With gentle hand extended, the mightier God am I,

Foretold by prophets and poets, in their most wrapt prophecies and poems;

From this side, lo! the Lord CHRIST gazes--lo! Hermes I--lo! mine is

Hercules' face;

All sorrow, labour, suffering, I, tallying it, absorb in myself;

Many times have I been rejected, taunted, put in prison, and crucified--and

many times shall be again;

All the world have I given up for my dear brothers' and sisters' sake--for

the soul's sake;

Wending my way through the homes of men, rich or poor, with the kiss of


For I am affection--I am the cheer-bringing God, with hope, and all-

enclosing charity;

Conqueror yet--for before me all the armies and soldiers of the earth shall

yet bow--and all the weapons of war become impotent:

With indulgent words, as to children--with fresh and sane words, mine only;

Young and strong I pass, knowing well I am destined myself to an early


But my Charity has no death--my Wisdom dies not, neither early nor late,

And my sweet Love, bequeathed here and elsewhere, never dies.


Aloof, dissatisfied, plotting revolt,

Comrade of criminals, brother of slaves,

Crafty, despised, a drudge, ignorant,

With sudra face and worn brow--black, but in the depths of my heart proud

as any;

Lifted, now and always, against whoever, scorning, assumes to rule me;

Morose, full of guile, full of reminiscences, brooding, with many wiles,

Though it was thought I was baffled and dispelled, and my wiles done--but

that will never be;

Defiant I SATAN still live--still utter words--in new lands duly appearing,

and old ones also;

Permanent here, from my side, warlike, equal with any, real as any,

Nor time, nor change, shall ever change me or my words.


Santa SPIRITA,[1] breather, life,

Beyond the light, lighter than light,

Beyond the flames of hell--joyous, leaping easily above hell;

Beyond Paradise--perfumed solely with mine own perfume;

Including all life on earth--touching, including God--including Saviour and


Ethereal, pervading all--for, without me, what were all? what were God?

Essence of forms--life of the real identities, permanent, positive, namely

the unseen,

Life of the great round world, the sun and stars, and of man--I, the

General Soul,

Here the Square finishing, the solid, I the most solid,

Breathe my breath also through these little songs.

[Footnote 1: The reader will share my wish that Whitman had written]

_sanctus spiritus_, which is right, instead of _santa spirita_, which is

methodically wrong.