From Leaves of Grass
, by Walt Whitman
As I ponder'd in silence
Returning upon my poem
s, considering, lingering
arose before me with distrustful aspect,Terrible
, and power,
of poets of old lands,
As to me directing like flame
pointing to many immortal
And menacing voice
, What singest thou?
it said, Know'st thou not there is but one theme for ever-enduring bards?
And that is the theme of War, the fortune of battles,
The making of perfect soldiers.
Be it so,
then I answer'd,I too haughty Shade also sing war, and a longer and greater one than any,
Waged in my book with varying fortune, with flight, advance and retreat, victory deferr'd and wavering,
(Yet methinks certain, or as good as certain, at the last,) the field the world,
For life and death, for the Body and for the eternal Soul,
Lo, I too am come, chanting the chant of battles,
I above all promote brave soldiers