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I Was Looking A Long While
by Walt Whitman


I WAS looking a long while for a clue to the history of the past for
myself, and for these chants--and now I have found it;
It is not in those paged fables in the libraries, (them I neither
accept nor reject;)
It is no more in the legends than in all else;
It is in the present--it is this earth to-day;
It is in Democracy--(the purport and aim of all the past;)
It is the life of one man or one woman to-day--the average man of
to-day;
It is in languages, social customs, literatures, arts;
It is in the broad show of artificial things, ships, machinery,
politics, creeds, modern improvements, and the interchange of
nations,
All for the average man of to-day.