we try him by what we may call the scientific standard, the standard of organic nature, and demand of him the vital and the characteristic,--demand of him that he have a law of his own, and fulfill that law in the poetic sphere,--the result is quite different.
More than any other poet, Whitman is what we make him; more than any other poet, his greatest value is in what he suggests and implies, rather than in what he portrays; and more than any other poet must he wait to be understood by the growth of the taste of himself. "I make the only growth by which I can be appreciated," he truly says.
His words are like the manna that descended upon the Israelites, "in which were all manner of tastes; and every one found in it what his palate was chiefly pleased with. If he desired fat in it, he had it. In it the young men tasted bread; the old men honey; and the children oil." Many young men,--poets, artists, teachers, preachers,--have testified that they have found bread in Whitman, the veritable bread