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WITH HUSKY-HAUGHTY LIPS, O SEA!

WITH husky-haughty lips, O Sea!
Where day and night I wend thy surf-beat shore,
Imaging to my sense thy varied strange suggestions,
Thy troops of white-maned racers racing to the goal,
Thy ample smiling face, dash'd with the sparkling dimples of the sun,
Thy brooding scowl and murk—thy unloos'd hurricanes,
Thy unsubduedness, caprices, willfulness;
Great as thou art above the rest, thy many tears—a lack from all eternity in thy
      content
(Naught but the greatest struggles, wrongs, defeats, could make thee greatest—no
      less could make thee),
Thy lonely state—something thou ever seek'st and seek'st, yet never gain'st,
Surely some right withheld—some voice, in huge monotonous rage, of freedom-
      lover pent,
Some vast heart, like a planet's, chain'd and chafing in those breakers,
By lengthen'd swell, and spasm, and panting breath,
And rhythmic rasping of thy sands and waves,
And serpent hiss, and savage peals of laughter,
And undertones of distant lion roar
(Sounding, appealing to the sky's deaf ear—but now, rapport for once,
A phantom in the night thy confidant for once),
The first and last confession of the globe,
Outsurging, muttering from thy soul's abysms,
The tale of cosmic elemental passion,
Thou tellest to a kindred soul.


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Our transcription is based on a digital image of an original issue.

Publication Information
"With Husky-Haughty Lips, O Sea!."  Harper's Monthly Magazine  68 (March 1884):  607.  Reprinted in the "Sands at Seventy" annex to Leaves of Grass (1888).

Whitman Archive ID
per.00023


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