IN paths untrodden,
In the growths by margins of pond-waters,
Escaped from the life that exhibits itself,
From all the standards hitherto publish'd, from the pleasures,
     profits, conformities,
Which too long I was offering to feed my soul,
Clear to me now standards not yet publish'd, clear to me that
     my soul,
That the soul of the man I speak for rejoices in comrades,
Here by myself away from the clank of the world,
Tallying and talk'd to here by tongues aromatic,
No longer abash'd, (for in this secluded spot I can respond as
     I would not dare elsewhere,)
Strong upon me the life that does not exhibit itself, yet
     contains all the rest,
Resolv'd to sing no songs to-day but those of manly attachment,
Projecting them along that substantial life,
Bequeathing hence types of athletic love,
Afternoon this delicious Ninth-month in my forty-first year,
I proceed for all who are or have been young men,
To tell the secret of my nights and days,
To celebrate the need of comrades.

1860 1867


SCENTED herbage of my breast,
Leaves from you I glean, I write, to be perused best
Tomb- leaves, body-leaves growing up above me above death.

Perennial roots, tall leaves, O the winter shall not freeze you
     delicate leaves,
Every year shall you bloom again, out from where you retired
     you shall emerge again;
O I do not know whether many passing by will discover you
     or inhale your faint odor, but I believe a few will;
O slender leaves! O blossoms of my blood! I permit you to
     tell in your own way of the heart that is under you,
O I do not know what you mean there underneath yourselves,
     you are not happiness,
You are often more bitter than I can bear, you burn and sting
Yet you are beautiful to me you faint-tinged roots, you make
     me think of death,
Death is beautiful from you, (what indeed is finally beautiful
     except death and love?)
O I think it is not for life I am chanting here my chant of
     lovers, I think it must be for death,
For how calm, how solemn it grows to ascend to the
     atmosphere of lovers,
Death or life I am then indifferent, my soul declines to prefer,
(I am not sure but the high soul of lovers welcomes death
Indeed O death, I think now these leaves mean precisely the
     same as you mean,
Grow up taller sweet leaves that I may see! grow up out of
     my breast!
Spring away from the conceal'd heart there!
Do not fold yourself so in your pink-tinged roots timid leaves!
Do not remain down there so ashamed, herbage of my breast!
Come I am determin'd to unbare this broad breast of mine, I
     have long enough stifled and choked;
Emblematic and capricious blades I leave you, now you serve
     me not,
I will say what I have to say by itself,
I will sound myself and comrades only, I will never again
     utter a call only their call,
I will raise with it immortal reverberations through the States,
I will give an example to lovers to take permanent shape and
     will through the States,

Through me shall the words be said to make death
Give me your tone therefore O death, that I may accord with
Give me yourself, for I see that you belong to me now above
     all, and are folded inseparably together, you love and
     death are,
Nor will I allow you to balk me any more with what I was
     calling life,
For now it is convey'd to me that you are the purports
That you hide in these shifting forms of life, for reasons, and
     that they are mainly for you,
That you beyond them come forth to remain, the real reality,
That behind the mask of materials you patiently wait, no
     matter how long,
That you will one day perhaps take control of all,
That you will perhaps dissipate this entire show of appearance,
That may-be you are what it is all for, but it does not last so
     very long,
But you will last very long.

1860 1881


WHOEVER you are holding me now in hand,
Without one thing all will be useless,
I give you fair warning before you attempt me further,
I am not what you supposed, but far different.

Who is he that would become my follower?
Who would sign himself a candidate for my affections?

  By PanEris using Melati.

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