Happy 202nd Birthday, Walt Whitman!

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Aug 2, 2019

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I stumbled over the fact that today is Walt Whitman's 202nd birthday, having been born May 31, 1819. According to one of my professors in grad school, the image above was Whitman's favorite image of himself (the original daguerreotype having been lost,this is an engraving of it), and he used it as the frontispiece for his master work in American poetry, Leaves of Grass.
Centre of equal daughters, equal sons,
All, all alike endear’d, grown, ungrown, young or old,
Strong, ample, fair, enduring, capable, rich,
Perennial with the Earth, with Freedom, Law and Love,
A grand, sane, towering, seated Mother,
Chair’d in the adamant of Time.

In honor of the day, here is a recording of the man himself reciting "America" in an 1890 records.


And because sound recordings in 1890 were still kind of crappy, here's the text (the last two lines are not in the recording)


Centre of equal daughters, equal sons,
All, all alike endear’d, grown, ungrown, young or old,
Strong, ample, fair, enduring, capable, rich,
Perennial with the Earth, with Freedom, Law and Love,
A grand, sane, towering, seated Mother,
Chair’d in the adamant of Time.

Happy Birthday, Uncle Walt!
 
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