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Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Leaves of Grass. 1900.

107. I was Looking a Long While

I WAS looking a long while for a clue to the history of the past for myself, and for these chants—and now I have found it;

It is not in those paged fables in the libraries, (them I neither accept nor reject;)

It is no more in the legends than in all else;

It is in the present—it is this earth to-day;

It is in Democracy—(the purport and aim of all the past😉

It is the life of one man or one woman to-day—the average man of to-day;

It is in languages, social customs, literatures, arts;

It is in the broad show of artificial things, ships, machinery, politics, creeds, modern improvements, and the interchange of nations,

All for the average man of to-day.