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

49. City of Orgies

CITY of orgies, walks and joys!

City whom that I have lived and sung in your midst will one day make you illustrious,

Not the pageants of you—not your shifting tableaux, your spectacles, repay me;

Not the interminable rows of your houses—nor the ships at the wharves,

Nor the processions in the streets, nor the bright windows, with goods in them;

Nor to converse with learn’d persons, or bear my share in the soiree or feast;

Not those—but, as I pass, O Manhattan! your frequent and swift flash of eyes offering me love,

Offering response to my own—these repay me;

Lovers, continual lovers, only repay me.