Walt Whitman: The Ox-Tamer
Updated February 28, 2017 | Infoplease Staff
In a far-away northern county in the placid pastoral region, Lives my farmer friend, the theme of my recitative, a famous tamer of oxen, There they bring him the three-year-olds and the four-year-olds to break them, He will take the wildest steer in the world and break him and tame him, He will go fearless without any whip where the young bullock chafes up and down the yard, The bullock's head tosses restless high in the air with raging eyes, Yet see you! how soon his rage subsides—how soon this tamer tames him; See you! on the farms hereabout a hundred oxen young and old, and he is the man who has tamed them, They all know him, all are affectionate to him; See you! some are such beautiful animals, so lofty looking; Some are buff-color'd, some mottled, one has a white line running along his back, some are brindled, Some have wide flaring horns (a good sign)—see you! the bright hides, See, the two with stars on their foreheads—see, the round bodies and broad backs, How straight and square they stand on their legs—what fine sagacious eyes! How straight they watch their tamer—they wish him near them—how they turn to look after him! What yearning expression! how uneasy they are when he moves away from them; Now I marvel what it can be he appears to them, (books, politics, poems, depart—all else departs,) I confess I envy only his fascination—my silent, illiterate friend, Whom a hundred oxen love there in his life on farms, In the northern county far, in the placid pastoral region.