Nay, Tell Me Not To-Day the Publish’d Shame

Winter of 1873, Congress in Session

Nay, tell me not to-day the publish’d shame,

Read not to-day the journal’s crowded page,

The merciless reports still branding forehead after forehead,

The guilty column following guilty column.

To-day to me the tale refusing,

Turning from it — from the white capitol turning,

Far from these swelling domes, topt with statues,

More endless, jubilant, vital visions rise

Unpublish’d, unreported.

Through all your quiet ways, or North or South, you Equal States,

you honest farms,

Your million untold manly healthy lives, or East or West, city or


Your noiseless mothers, sisters, wives, unconscious of their good,

Your mass of homes nor poor nor rich, in visions rise –(even your

excellent poverties,)

Your self-distilling, never-ceasing virtues, self-denials, graces,

Your endless base of deep integrities within, timid but certain,

Your blessings steadily bestow’d, sure as the light, and still,

(Plunging to these as a determin’d diver down the deep hidden


These, these to-day I brood upon–all else refusing, these will I con,

To-day to these give audience.

Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, Old Age Echoes, p. 485, Easton Press 1977


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