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I HAVE deliberated a long time about coupling some of my sketches of out-door nature with a few chapters of a more purely literary character; and as I have confided to my reader what pleased and engaged me beyond my four walls, to show him what absorbs and delights me inside those walls; especially as I have aimed to bring my out-door spirit and method within and still look upon my subject with the best naturalist's eye I could command.
I hope, therefore, he will not be scared away when I boldly confront him in the latter portions of my book with this name of strange portent, Walt Whitman, for I assure him that in this misjudged man he may press the strongest poetic pulse that has yet beat in America, or perhaps in modern times.
Then these chapters are a proper supplement or continuation of my themes, and their analogy in literature, because in them we shall "follow out these lessons of the earth and air," and behold their application to higher matters.
It is not an artificially graded path strewn with
roses that invites us in this part, but let me hope something better, a rugged trail through the woods or along the beach where we shall now and then get a whiff of natural air, or a glimpse of something to
"Make the wild blood start
In its mystic springs."