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

125. Not the Pilot

NOT the pilot has charged himself to bring his ship into port, though beaten back, and many times baffled;

Not the path-finder, penetrating inland, weary and long,

By deserts parch’d, snows-chill’d, rivers wet, perseveres till he reaches his destination,

More than I have charged myself, heeded or unheeded, to compose a free march for These States,

To be exhilarating music to them—a battle-call, rousing to arms, if need be—years, centuries hence.