I was Looking a Long While (Whitman)

I WAS looking a long while for a clue to the history of the past for myself, and for these chants—and now I have found it;
It is not in those paged fables in the libraries, (them I neither accept nor reject;)
It is no more in the legends than in all else;
It is in the present—it is this earth to-day;
It is in Democracy—(the purport and aim of all the past;)
It is the life of one man or one woman to-day—the average man of to-day;
It is in languages, social customs, literatures, arts;
It is in the broad show of artificial things, ships, machinery, politics, creeds, modern improvements, and the interchange of nations,
All for the average man of to-day.

Whitman on Language

“Language-using controls the rest;
Wonderful is language!
Wondrous the English language, language of live men,
Language of ensemble, powerful language of resistance,
Language of a proud and melancholy stock, and of all who aspire,
Language of growth, faith, self-esteem, rudeness, justice, friendliness, prudence, decision, exactitude, courage,
Language to well-nigh express the unexpressible,
Language for the modern, language for America.”

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