Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

Spring plants her rosy feet on their dim homesThey sleep.-Sweet Summer comes and calls, and

calls, With all her passionate poetry of flowers Wed to the music of the soft south windThey sleep.-The lonely Autumn sits and sobs Between the cold white tombs, as if her heart Would break—they sleep.-Wild Winter comes and

chants Majestical the mournful sagas learned Far in the melancholy North, where God Walks forth alone upon the desolate seasThey slumber still !Sleep on, 0 passionless dead! Ye make our world sublime: ye have a power And majesty the living never had. Here Avarice shall forget his den of gold, Here Lust his beautiful victim, and hot Hate His crouching foe. Ambition here shall lean Against Death's shaft, veiling the stern, bright eye That, over-bold, would take the height of gods, And know Fame's nothingness. The sire shall come, The matron and the child, through many years, To this fair spot, whether the plumèd hearse Moves slowly through the winding walks, or Death For a brief moment pauses: all shall come To feel the touching eloquence of graves: And therefore it was well for us to clothe The place with beauty. No dark terror here Shall chill the generous tropic of the soul; But Poetry and her starred comrade Art Shall make the sacred country of the dead Magnificent. The fragrant flowers shall smile Over the low, green graves; the trees shall shake Their soul-like cadences upon the tombs; The little lake, set in a paradise Of wood, shall be a mirror to the moon What time she looks from her imperial tent

long delight at all below; the sea Shall lift some stately dirge he loves to breathe Over dead nations; while calm sculptures stand

On every hill, and look like spirits there
That drink the harmony. Oh it is well!
Why should a darkness scowl on any spot
Where man grasps immortality? Light, light,
And art, and poetry, and eloquence,
And all that we call glorious, are its dower.
Oh ye whose mouldering frames were brought and

placed
By pious hands within these flowery slopes
And gentle hills, where are ye dwelling now?
For man is more than element. The soul
Lives in the body as the sunbeam lives
In trees or flowers that were but clay without.
Then where are ye, lost sunbeams of the mind?
Are ye where great Orion towers and holds
Eternity on his stupendous front?
Or where pale Neptune in the distant space
Shows us how far, in His creative mood,
With pomp of silence and concentred brows,
Walked forth the Almighty? Haply ye have gone
Where other matter roundeth into shapes
Of bright beatitude: or do ye know
Aughť of dull space or time, and its dark load
Of aching weariness?

They answer not. But He whose love created them of old, To cheer his solitary realm and reign, With love will still remember them.

WALT WHITMAN. [Born on 31st May 1819, at West Hills, Long Island, in the State of New York. If I may trust my own judgment, by far the greatest of American poets,—the most national, and the most worldwide. Mr. Whitman has acted as a printer, a school-teacher, a newspaper-writer, a carpenter and builder, and is now a clerk in the office of the Attorney General at Washington. During the Civil War he volunteered to attend on the sick and wounded of both armies; and is said to have ministered, with boundless brotherliness and eminent success, to upwards of 100,000 men. In earlier years he had travelled much within the area of the United States. His poems are Leaves of Grass, published in 1855, and since reissued more than once with alterations and additions, and Drum-Taps, published in 1865. The Leaves of Grass, more especially, has encountered the usual fata of works of the heroic stature : unmeasured abuse from the many, and from the knowing-enthusiastic cherishing from a few, gradually growing less few].

A SONG. COME, I will make the continent indissoluble; I will make the most splendid race the sun ever yet

1

shone upon ;

I will make divine magnetic lands,

With the love of comrades,

With the life-long love of comrades. I will plant companionship thick as trees along all the

rivers of America, and along the shores of the

great lakes, and all over the prairies; I will make inseparable cities, with their arms about

each other's necks;
By the love of comrades,

By the manly love of comrades.
For you these, from me, O Democracy, to serve you,

ma femme! For you! for you, I am trilling these songs,

In the love of comrades,

In the high-towering love of comrades.

1 In the latest edition of Leaves of Grass there is a separate section named Passage to India. My extracts are taken from, and in all points of diction correspond with, this latest edition.

EN V Y.

WHEN I peruse the conquered fame of heroes, and the

victories of mighty generals, I do not envy the

generals -Nor the President in his Presidency, nor the rich in his

great house ; But when I hear of the brotherhood of lovers, how it

was with them, How through life, through dangers, odium, unchanging,

long and long, Through youth, and through middle and old age, how

unfaltering, how affectionate and faithful, they

were, Then I am pensive-I hastily walk away, filled with the

bitterest envy.

PARTING FRIENDS. What think

you I take my pen in hand to record ? The battle-ship, perfect-modelled, majestic, that I saw

pass the offing to-day under full sail? The splendours of the past day? Or the splendour of

the night that envelops me? Or the vaunted glory and growth of the great city

spread around me ?-No; But I record of two simple men I saw to-day, on the

pier, in the midst of the crowd, parting the part

ing of dear friends; The one to remain hung on the other's neck, and pas

sionately kissed him, While the one to depart tightly pressed the one to re

main in his

[ocr errors]

SALUT AU MONDE !

I.

Oh take my hand, Walt Whitman !
Such gliding wonders ! such sights and sounds!
Such joined unended links, each hooked to the next!
Each answering all—each sharing the earth with all.

What widens within you, Walt Whitman ? What waves and soils exuding ? What climes? what persons and lands are here? Who are the infants ? some playing, some slumbering? Who are the girls ? who'are the married women? Who are the groups of old men going slowly with their

arms about each other's necks? What rivers are these? what forests and fruits are

these? What are the mountains called that rise so high in the

mists? What myriads of dwellings are they, filled with dwellers ?

2.

Within me latitude widens, longitude lengthens;
Asia, Africa, Europe, are to the east- America is pro-

vided for in the west;
Banding the bulge of the earth winds the hot equator,
Curiously north and south turn the axis-ends;
Within me is the longest day—the sun wheels in slant-

ing rings—it does not set for months ; Stretched in due time within me the midnight sun just

rises above the horizon, and sinks again ; Within me zones, seas, cataracts, plants, volcanoes,

groups, Malaysia, Polynesia, and the great West Indian islands.

3. What do you hear, Walt Whitman?

I hear the workman singing and the farmer's wife sing

ing;

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »