Leaves of Grass

This is what you shall do:
Love the earth and sun and animals,
despise riches, give alms to every one that asks,
stand up for the stupid and crazy,
devote your income and labor to others,
hate tyrants, argue not concerning to God,
have patience and indulgence toward the people,
take off your hat to nothing known or unknown
or to any man or number of men,
go freely with powerful uneducated persons
and with the mothers of families,
read these leaves in the open air
every season of every year of your life,
re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book,
dismiss whatever insults your own soul,
and your very flesh shall be a great poem
and have the richest fluency not only in its words
but in the silent lines of its lips and face
and between the lashes of your eyes
and in every motion and joint of your body.

Walt Whitman, from the 1855 Preface to Leaves of Grass

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