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

205. That Music Always Round Me

THAT music always round me, unceasing, unbeginning—yet long untaught I did not hear;

But now the chorus I hear, and am elated;

A tenor, strong, ascending, with power and health, with glad notes of day-break I hear,

A soprano, at intervals, sailing buoyantly over the tops of immense waves,

A transparent bass, shuddering lusciously under and through the universe,

The triumphant tutti—the funeral wailings, with sweet flutes and violins—all these I fill myself with;

I hear not the volumes of sound merely—I am moved by the exquisite meanings,

I listen to the different voices winding in and out, striving, contending with fiery vehemence to excel each other in emotion;

I do not think the performers know themselves—but now I think I begin to know them.