I am of old and young, of the foolish as much as the wise, Regardless of others, ever regardful of others, Maternal as well as paternal, a child as well as a man, Stuffed with the stuff that is coarse, and stuffed with the stuff that is fine,
One of the great nation, the nation of many nations, the smallest the same, the largest the same, A southerner soon as a northerner, a planter non- chalant and hospitable, A Yankee bound my own way, ready for trade, my joints the limberest joints on earth and the sternest joints on earth, A Kentuckian walking the vale of the Elkhorn in my deer-skin leggings, A boatman over lakes or bays, or along coasts — a Hoosier, Badger, Buckeye, A Louisianian or Georgian, a Poke-easy from sand-hills and pines, At home on Canadian snow-shoes, or up in the bush, or with fishermen off Newfoundland, At home in the fleet of ice-boats, sailing with the rest, and tacking, At home on the hills of Vermont, or in the woods of Maine, or the Texan ranch, Comrade of Californians, comrade of free north- westerners, loving their big proportions. Comrade of raftsmen and coalmen, comrade of all who shake hands and welcome to drink and meat, A learner with the simplest, a teacher of the thoughtfulest, A novice beginning, experient of myriads of sea- sons, Of every hue, trade, rank, of every caste and re- ligion, Not merely of the New World, but of Africa, Europe, Asia—a wandering savage, A farmer, mechanic, artist, gentleman, sailor, lover, quaker, A prisoner, fancy-man, rowdy, lawyer, physician, priest.
I resist anything better than my own diversity, And breathe the air, and leave plenty after me, And am not stuck up, and am in my place.
The moth and the fish-eggs are in their place, The suns I see, and the suns I cannot see, are in their place, The palpable is in its place, and the impalpable is in its place.
Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.