Long I Thought That Knowledge

A poem by Walt Whitman

Long I thought that knowledge alone would suffice me - O if I could but obtain knowledge!
Then my lands engrossed me - Lands of the prairies, Ohio's land, the southern savannas, engrossed me - For them I would live - I would be their orator;
Then I met the examples of old and new heroes - I heard of warriors, sailors, and all dauntless persons - And it seemed to me that I too had it in me to be as dauntless as any - and would be so;
And then, to enclose all, it came to me to strike up the songs of the
New World - And then I believed my life must be spent in singing;
But now take notice, land of the prairies, land of the south savannas, Ohio's land,
Take notice, you Kanuck woods - and you Lake Huron - and all that with you roll toward Niagara - and you Niagara also,
And you, Californian mountains - That you each and all find somebody else to be your singer of songs,
For I can be your singer of songs no longer - One who loves me is jealous of me, and withdraws me from all but love,
With the rest I dispense - I sever from what I thought would suffice me, for it does not - it is now empty and tasteless to me,
I heed knowledge, and the grandeur of The States, and the example of heroes, no more,
I am indifferent to my own songs - I will go with him I love,
It is to be enough for us that we are together - We never separate again.

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