Walt Whitman, Election Day, November, 1884

If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest scene and


'Twould not be you, Niagara--nor you, ye limitless prairies--nor

your huge rifts of canyons, Colorado,

Nor you, Yosemite--nor Yellowstone, with all its spasmic

geyser-loops ascending to the skies, appearing and disappearing,

Nor Oregon's white cones--nor Huron's belt of mighty lakes--nor

Mississippi's stream:

--This seething hemisphere's humanity, as now, I'd name--the still

small voice vibrating--America's choosing day,

(The heart of it not in the chosen--the act itself the main, the

quadriennial choosing,)

The stretch of North and South arous'd--sea-board and inland--

Texas to Maine--the Prairie States--Vermont, Virginia, California,

The final ballot-shower from East to West--the paradox and conflict,

The countless snow-flakes falling--(a swordless conflict,

Yet more than all Rome's wars of old, or modern Napoleon's:) the

peaceful choice of all,

Or good or ill humanity--welcoming the darker odds, the dross:

--Foams and ferments the wine? it serves to purify--while the heart

pants, life glows:

These stormy gusts and winds waft precious ships,

Swell'd Washington's, Jefferson's, Lincoln's sails.

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