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Story by Walt Whitman                                                                                                                                      Back to List of Tor's Tales


Song of the Open Road

by Walt Whitman


Afoot and light-hearted, I take to the open road, healthy, free, the world before me. Henceforth I ask not good fortune, I myself am good fortune; Strong and content, I travel the open road.

I inhale great draughts of space; the east and the west are mine, and the north and the south are mine. All seems beautiful to me; I can repeat over to men and women, You have done such good to me, I would do the same to you.

Whoever you are, come travel with me!

However sweet these laid-up stores, however convenient this dwelling, we cannot remain here. However sheltered this port, and however calm these waters, we must not anchor here.


The inducements shall be greater; we will sail pathless and wild seas; we will go where winds blow, waves dash, and the Yankee clipper speeds by under full sail.

Forward! After the great Companions! And to belong to them! They too are on the road! Onward! To that which is endless, as it was beginningless, to undergo much, tramps of days, rests of nights, to see nothing anywhere but that you may reach it and pass it. To look up or down no road but it stretches and waits for you. To know the universe itself as a road - as many roads - as roads for traveling souls.

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