The Ox Tamer

by Walt Whitman

In a faraway northern county, in the placid, pastoral region,
Lives my farmer friend, the theme of my recitative, a famous Tamer of
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
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
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
See, the two with stars on their foreheads–See, the round bodies and
broad backs;
See, how straight and square they stand on their legs–See, what
fine, sagacious eyes;
See, how 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
–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.