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In this passage of Song of Myself, Whitman is speaking out about the (in his eyes mistaken) tendency of the human mind to measure, to compare, to contest, to make a combat of everything, to anticipate future rewards and pleasures instead of enjoying the present moment. His mind is asking,”Shall I ignore my immediate pleasure--my present-ness--to anticipate rewards down the road simply because they (my eyes) may see more reward in the future?” (My mind looks ahead and measures “to a cent” the value of the future, but I resist this natural tendency because it diminishes the joy of being in the present moment.) Imbedded in this image is the metaphor of two persons becoming one (cf. Cummings “One is not half of two—two are halves of one”).
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