1891 | Camden, NJ

Ourselves Owning

Walt Whitman pairs off.

We two boys together clinging,
One the other never leaving,
Up and down the roads going, North and South excursions making,
Power enjoying, elbows stretching, fingers clutching,
Arm’d and fearless, eating, drinking, sleeping, loving,
No law less than ourselves owning, sailing, soldiering, thieving, threatening,
Misers, menials, priests alarming, air breathing, water drinking, on the turf or the sea-beach dancing,
Cities wrenching, ease scorning, statutes mocking, feebleness chasing,
Fulfilling our foray.

Contributor

Walt Whitman

“We Two Boys Together Clinging.” In January 1865 Whitman took a position as a low-level clerk in the Bureau of Indian Affairs. “It is easy enough—I take things very easy,” he wrote to his brother later that month, “The rule is to come at nine and go at four—but I don’t come at nine and only stay till four when I want.” In May the interior secretary discovered that Whitman was the author of the controversial Leaves of Grass and dismissed him from the department.