Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

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Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

Read FREE!

Excerpt

LONG ISLAND had been the home of the Whitmans for generations. Fish-shaped, as Whitman loved to picture it, it stretches away from New York, running a little to the north of east, for one hundred and twenty-five miles, with an average breadth of about twelve. On the north it has several fine harbours, in the middle a ridge of low hills, on the south a scarcely broken stretch of narrow, desolate, dangerous beach, protecting the inner waters of a chain of bays. The western settlements in the island were originally Dutch; the eastern were made by the English, -- Independents of the old breed, shut off from Connecticut by the Sound, and from New York by the sandy wilderness, but sturdily content in their isolation. Journeying east from New York, even as late as Whitman's childhood, one soon passed out of the village of Brooklyn and its outlying farms into the great Hempstead plain, unbroken by tree, shrub, or fence, a pasture-ground for sheep and cattle, who fattened on the coarse grass that grew abundantly in its black but thin soil. Then, as the mould became mixed with sand, came the "brushy plains" of scrub oak. Forty miles of this, and, as the sand increased in fineness and fluidity, one entered the "pine plains," a low, irregular forest that con-

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