Published Works

Books by Whitman

contents   |   previous   |   next

Page 360
View Page 360

MANNAHATTA.


I WAS asking for something specific and perfect for my city,
Whereupon lo! upsprang the aboriginal name.

Now I see what there is in a name, a word, liquid, sane, unruly,
         musical, self-sufficient,

Page 361
View Page 361
I see that the word of my city is that word from of old,
Because I see that word nested in nests of water-bays, superb,
Rich, hemm'd thick all around with sailships and steamships, an
         island sixteen miles long, solid-founded,
Numberless crowded streets, high growths of iron, slender, strong,
         light, splendidly uprising toward clear skies,
Tides swift and ample, well-loved by me, toward sundown,
The flowing sea-currents, the little islands, larger adjoining islands,
         the heights, the villas,
The countless masts, the white shore-steamers, the lighters, the
         ferry-boats, the black sea-steamers well-model'd,
The down-town streets, the jobbers' houses of business, the houses
         of business of the ship-merchants and money-brokers, the
         river-streets,
Immigrants arriving, fifteen or twenty thousand in a week,
The carts hauling goods, the manly race of drivers of horses, the
         brown-faced sailors,
The summer air, the bright sun shining, and the sailing clouds
         aloft,
The winter snows, the sleigh-bells, the broken ice in the river,
         passing along up or down with the flood-tide or ebb-tide,
The mechanics of the city, the masters, well-form'd, beautiful-
         faced, looking you straight in the eyes,
Trottoirs throng'd, vehicles, Broadway, the women, the shops and
         shows,
A million people—manners free and superb—open voices—
         hospitality—the most courageous and friendly young men,
City of hurried and sparkling waters! city of spires and masts!
City nested in bays! my city!
contents   |   previous   |   next

Comments?

Published Works | In Whitman's Hand | Life & Letters | Commentary | Resources | Pictures & Sound

Support the Archive | About the Archive

Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Ed Folsom & Kenneth M. Price, editors.