P. S. Hilariously, the copy of Leaves of Grass that I ordered on Amazon finally came in the mail today. While I was congratulating myself on having found the ultimate antidote to religious fanaticism in Whitman’s world-venerating ravings, I opened the book at random and this is what I read:
What are you doing, young man?
Are you so earnest, so given up to literature, art, science, amours?
These ostensible realities, politics, points?
Your ambition or business whatever it may be?
It is well—against such I say not a word, I am their poet also,
But behold! Such swiftly subside, burnt up for religion’s sake,
For not all matter is fuel to heat, impalpable flame, the essential life of the earth,
Any more than such are to religion.
Ouch. I think I just got told. By Whitman.
I love the way this book smells. It smells like War & Peace.