Walt Whitman: Poems

Songs of Parting: So Long!


To conclude--I announce what comes after me;

I announce mightier offspring, orators, days, and then depart,

I remember I said, before my leaves sprang at all,

I would raise my voice jocund and strong, with reference to consummations.

When America does what was promised,

When there are plentiful athletic bards, inland and sea-board,

When through these States walk a hundred millions of superb persons,

When the rest part away for superb persons, and contribute to them,

When breeds of the most perfect mothers denote America,

Then to me my due fruition.

I have pressed through in my own right,

I have offered my style to every one--I have journeyed with confident step.

While my pleasure is yet at the full, I whisper, _So long_!

And take the young woman's hand, and the young man's hand for the last



I announce natural persons to arise,

I announce justice triumphant,

I announce uncompromising liberty and equality,

I announce the justification of candour, and the justification of pride.

I announce that the identity of these States is a single identity only,

I announce the Union, out of all its struggles and wars, more and more


I announce splendours and majesties to make all the previous politics of

the earth insignificant.

I announce a man or woman coming--perhaps you are the one (_So long_!)

I announce the great individual, fluid as Nature, chaste, affectionate,

compassionate, fully armed.

I announce a life that shall be copious, vehement, spiritual, bold,

And I announce an old age that shall lightly and joyfully meet its



O thicker and faster! (_So long_!)

O crowding too close upon me;

I foresee too much--it means more than I thought,

It appears to me I am dying.

Hasten throat, and sound your last!

Salute me--salute the days once more. Peal the old cry once more.

Screaming electric, the atmosphere using,

At random glancing, each as I notice absorbing,

Swiftly on, but a little while alighting,

Curious enveloped messages delivering,

Sparkles hot, seed ethereal, down in the dirt dropping,

Myself unknowing, my commission obeying, to question it never daring,

To ages, and ages yet, the growth of the seed leaving,

To troops out of me rising--they the tasks I have set promulging,

To women certain whispers of myself bequeathing--their affection me more

clearly explaining,

To young men my problems offering--no dallier I--I the muscle of their

brains trying,

So I pass--a little time vocal, visible, contrary,

Afterward, a melodious echo, passionately bent for--death making me really


The best of me then when no longer visible--for toward that I have been

incessantly preparing.

What is there more, that I lag and pause, and crouch extended with unshut


Is there a single final farewell?


My songs cease--I abandon them,

From behind the screen where I hid, I advance personally, solely to you.

Camerado! This is no book;

Who touches this touches a man.

(Is it night? Are we here alone?)

It is I you hold, and who holds you,

I spring from the pages into your arms--decease calls me forth.

O how your fingers drowse me!

Your breath falls around me like dew--your pulse lulls the tympans of my


I feel immerged from head to foot,


Enough, O deed impromptu and secret!

Enough, O gliding present! Enough, O summed-up past!


Dear friend, whoever you are, here, take this kiss,

I give it especially to you--Do not forget me,

I feel like one who has done his work--I progress on,--(long enough have I

dallied with Life,)

The unknown sphere, more real than I dreamed, more direct, awakening rays

about me--_So long_!

Remember my words--I love you--I depart from materials,

I am as one disembodied, triumphant, dead.