Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

9. (America! I do not vaunt my love for you; I have what I have.) The axe leaps ! The solid forest gives fluid utterances ; They tumble forth, they rise and form, Hut, tent, landing, survey, Flail, plough, pick, crowbar, spade, Shingle, rail, prop, wainscot, jamb, lath, panel, gable, Citadel, ceiling, saloon, academy, organ, exhibition

house, library, Cornice, trellis, pilaster, balcony, window, shutter, tur

ret, porch, Hoe, rake, pitchfork, pencil, waggon, staff, saw, jack

plane, mallet, wedge, rounce, Chair, tub, hoop, table, wicket, vane, sash, floor, Work-box, chest, stringed instrument, boat, frame, and

what not, Capitols of States, and capitol of the nation of States, Long stately rows in avenues, hospitals for orphans, or

for the poor or sick, Manhattan steamboats and clippers, taking the measure

of all seas.

The shapes arise !
Shapes of the using of axes anyhow, and the users, and

all that neighbours them, Cutters-down of wood, and haulers of it to the Penob

scot or Kennebec, Dwellers in cabins among the Californian mountains, or

by the little lakes, or on the Columbia, Dwellers south on the banks of the Gila or Rio Grande

-friendly gatherings, the characters and fun, Dwellers up north in Minnesota and by the Yellowstone

river-dwellers on coasts and off coasts, Seal-fishers, whalers, arctic seamen breaking passages

through the ice. The shapes arise ! Shapes of factories, arsenals, foundries, markets;

Shapes of the two-threaded tracks of railroads;
Shapes of the sleepers of bridges, vast frameworks,

girders, arches; Shapes of the fleets of barges, tows, lake and canal craft,

river craft.

The shapes arise!
Ship-yards and dry-docks along the Eastern and West-

ern Seas, and in many a bay and by-place, The live-oak kelsons, the pine planks, the spars, the

hachmatack-roots for knees, The ships themselves on their ways, the tiers of scaffolds,

the workmen busy outside and inside, The tools lying around, the great auger and little auger,

the adze, bolt, line, square, gouge, and beadplane.

IO.

The shapes arise !
The shape measured, sawed, jacked, joined, stained,
The coffin-shape for the dead to lie within in his shroud;
The shape got out in posts, in the bedstead posts, in

the posts of the bride's bed; The shape of the little trough, the shape of the rockers

beneath, the shape of the babe's cradle ; The shape of the floor-planks, the floor-planks for

dancers' feet; The shape of the planks of the family home, the home

of the friendly parents and children, The shape of the roof of the home of the happy young

man and woman n—the roof over the well-marricd

young man and woman, The roof over the supper joyously cooked by the chaste

wife, and joyously eaten by the chaste husband, content after his day's work.

The shapes arise !
The shape of the prisoner's place in the court-room, and

of him or her seated in the place; The shape of the liquor-bar leaned against by the young

rum-drinker and the old rum-drinker ;

The shape of the shamed and angry stairs, trod by

sneaking footsteps; The shape of the sly settee, and the adulterous and un

wholesome couple; The shape of the gambling-board with its devilish win

nings and losings; The shape of the step-ladder for the convicted and sen

tenced murderer, the murderer with haggard face

and pinioned arms, The sheriff at hand with his deputies, the silent and

white-lipped crowd, the dangling of the rope. The shapes arise ! Shapes of doors giving many exits and entrances; The door passing the dissevered friend, flushed and in

haste; The door that admits good news and bad news; The door whence the son left home, confident and

puffed up; The door he entered again from a long and scandalous

absence, diseased, broken down, without innocence, without means.

II.

Her shape arises,
She, less guarded than ever, yet more guarded than ever;
The

gross and soiled she moves among do not make her

gross and soiled; She knows the thoughts as she passes-nothing is con

cealed from her; She is none the less considerate or friendly therefor; She is the best beloved-it is without exception--she

has no reason to fear, and she does not fear; Oaths, quarrels, hiccuped songs, smutty expressions,

are idle to her as she passes; She is silent-she is possessed of herself-they do not

offend her; She receives them as the laws of nature receive them

she is strong, She too is a law of nature-there is no law stronger

than she is.

I 2.

The main shapes arise !
Shapes of Democracy, total—result of centuries;
Shapes, ever projecting other shapes;
Shapes of turbulent manly cities;
Shapes of the friends and home-givers of the whole earth,
Shapes bracing the earth, and braced with the whole

earth.

CROSSING BROOKLYN FERRY.

I.

FLOOD-TIDE below me! I watch you face to face; Clouds of the west! sun there half an hour high! I see

you also face to face.

Crowds of men and women attired in the usual cos

tumes ! how curious you are to me! On the ferry-boats, the hundreds and hundreds that

cross, returning home, are more curious to me

than you suppose ; And you that shall cross from shore to shore, years

hence, are more to me, and more in my meditations, than you might suppose.

2.

The impalpable sustenance of me from all things, at all

hours of the day; The simple, compact, well-joined scheme-myself disin

tegrated, every one disintegrated, yet part of the

scheme; The similitudes of the past, and those of the future ; The glories strung like beads on my smallest sights and

hearings—on the walk in the street, and the pas

sage over the river; The current rushing so swiftly, and swimming with me

far

away;

[ocr errors]

The others that are to follow me, the ties between me

and them; The certainty of others—the life, love, sight, hearing of

others.

Others will enter the gates of the ferry, and cross from

shore to shore; Others will watch the run of the flood-tide; Others will see the shipping of Manhattan north and

west, and the heights of Brooklyn to the south

and east;

Others will see the islands large and small;
Fifty years hence, others will see them as they cross,

the sun half an hour high;
A hundred years hence, or ever so many hundred years

hence, others will see them, Will enjoy the sunset, the pouring-in of the flood-tide,

the falling-back to the sea of the ebb-tide.

[ocr errors]

3. It avails not, neither time or place-distance avails not; I am with you, you men and women of a generation, or

ever so many generations, hence; I project myself—also I return-I am with you, and

know how it is.

Just as you feel when you look on the river and sky, so

I felt;

Just as any of you is one of a living crowd, I was one of

a crowd; Just as you are refreshed by the gladness of the river

and the bright flow, I was refreshed; Just as you stand and lean on the rail, yet hurry with

the swift current, I stood, yet was hurried; Just as you look on the numberless masts of ships, and

the thick-stemmed pipes of steamboats, I looked.

I too many and many a time crossed the river, the sun

half an hour high ;

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »