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In this poem, Whitman seems to be reiterating a common theme among a number of his poems in regards to the equality that is shared in America. The sharing spreads beyond simple daughters and sons (girls and boys, women and men); it is a part of each and every person that lives and breathes on American soil. When Whitman says, “Perennial with the Earth, with Freedom, Law and Love” he is alluding to the idea of flowers that spring every year, without a hitch; that is, that Freedom, Law and Love all exist in America and repeatedly appear in the context of not just American soil, but they are ever-present across international borders for the world to understand the liberties that Americans experience. In regards to the last bit about the “seated Mother, chair’d in the adamant of Time”: Whitman is stating that America is like the Mother of all nations that is “seated” (positioned) in this particular position of power (which does include responsibilities) for an adamant (unbreakable) length of time. Whitman probably capitalized the “t” in “Time” to emphasize the importance of America and what she represents.


**Correction: flowers that exist through all seasons of the year (perennial); earlier I alluded to “annuals”.

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Centre of equal daughters, equal sons,
All, all alike endeard, grown, ungrown, young or old,
Strong, ample, fair, enduring, capable, rich,
Perennial with the Earth, with Freedom, Law and Love,
A grand, sane, towering, seated Mother,
Chaird in the adamant of Time.