Excerpts from Walt Whitman's
"Song of the Open Road"

from Leaves of Grass (1855)

Afoot and light-hearted, I take to the open road, Healthy, free, the world before me, The long brown path before me, leading wherever I choose.

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune--I myself am good fortune; Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing, Strong and content, I travel the open road.

You road I enter upon and look around! I believe you are not all that is here; I believe that much unseen is also here.

I think heroic deeds were all conceiv’d in the open air, and all great poems also; I think I could stop here myself, and do miracles;

Now I re-examine philosophies and religions, They may prove well in lecture-rooms, yet not prove at all under the spacious clouds, and along the landscape and flowing currents.

The Soul travels; The body does not travel as much as the soul; The body has just as great a work as the soul, and parts away at last for the journeys of the soul.

All parts away for the progress of souls; All religion, all solid things, arts, governments--all that was or is apparent upon this globe or any globe, falls into niches and corners before the procession of Souls along the grand roads of the universe.

Of the progress of the souls of men and women along the grand roads of the universe, all other progress is the needed emblem and sustenance.

The road is before us! Be not detain’d! Let the paper remain on the desk unwritten, and the book on the shelf unopen’d! Let the tools remain in the workshop! Let the money remain unearn’d! Let the school stand! Mind not the cry of the teacher! Let the preacher preach in his pulpit! Let the lawyer plead in the court, and the judge expound the law.

I give you my hand! I give you my love, more precious than money, I give you myself, before preaching or law; Will you give me yourself? Will you come travel with me? Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?