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Flaunt away, flags of all nations ! be duly lowered at
sunset; Burn high your fires, foundry chimneys ! cast black
shadows at nightfall! cast red and yellow light
over the tops of the houses; Appearances, now or henceforth, indicate what you are; You necessary film, continue to envelop the soul; About my body for me, and your body for you, be hung
our divinest aromas; Thrive, cities! bring your freight, bring your shows,
ample and sufficient rivers ; Expand, being than which none else is perhaps more
spiritual; Keep your places, objects than which none else is more
We descend upon you and all things—we arrest you
gestions and determinations of ourselves. You have waited, you always wait, you dumb, beautiful
ministers ! you novices ! We receive you with free sense at last, and are in satiate
henceforward; Not you any more shall be able to foil us, or withhold
yourselves from us; We use you, and do not cast you aside-we plant you
permanently within us; We fathom you not-we love you--there is perfection
in you also; You furnish your parts toward eternity; Great or small
, you furnish your parts toward the Soul.
THERE WAS A CHILD WENT FORTH.
THERE was a child went forth every day;
became; And that object became part of him for the day, or a
certain part of the day, or for many years, or stretching cycles of years.
The early lilacs became part of this child,
white and red clover, and the song of the phoebe
bird, 2 And the Third-month lambs, and the sow's pink-faint
litter, and the mare's foal, and the cow's calf, And the noisy brood of the barn-yard, or by the mire
of the pond-side, And the fish suspending themselves so curiously below
there—and the beautiful curious liquid, And the water-plants with their graceful flat heads-all
became part of him.
The field-sprouts of Fourth-month and Fifth-month
became part of him; Winter-grain sprouts, and those of the light-yellow corn,
and the esculent roots of the garden, And the apple-trees covered with blossoms, and the fruit
afterward, and wood-berries, and the commonest
weeds by the road; And the old drunkard staggering home from the out
house of the tavern, whence he had lately risen, And the schoolmistress that passed on her way to the
school, And the friendly boys that passed and the quarrelsome
1 The name of “morning-glory” is given to the bindweed, or a sort of bindweed, in America.
2 A dim-coloured little bird, with a cheerful note, sounding like the word Phoebe.
And the tidy and fresh-cheeked girls—and the barefoot
negro boy and girl, And all the changes of city and country, wherever he
His own parents,
him in her womb, and birthed him,
The mother at home, quietly placing the dishes on the
clothes as she walks by ; The father, strong, self-sufficient, manly, mean, angered,
unjust; The blow, the quick loud word, the tight bargain, the
crafty lure, The family usages, the language, the company, the fur
niture—the yearning and swelling heart, Affection that will not be gainsaid—the sense of what
is real—the thought if, after all, it should prove
unreal, The doubts of day-time and the doubts of night-time
the curious whether and how, Whether that which appears so is so, or is it all flashes
and specks? Men and women crowding fast in the streets—if they
are not flashes and specks, what are they? The streets themselves, and the façades of houses, and
goods in the windows, Vehicles, teams, the heavy-planked wharves—the huge
crossing at the ferries, The village on the highland, seen from afar at sunset
the river between, Shadows, aureola and mist, the light falling on roofs
and gables of white or brown, three miles off,
The schooner near by, sleepily dropping down the tide
—the little boat slack-towed astern, The hurrying tumbling waves quick-broken crests slap
ping, The strata of coloured clouds, the long bar of maroon
tint, away solitary by itself—the spread of purity
it lies inotionless in, The horizon's edge, the flying sea-crow, the fragrance of
salt marsh and shore-mud; These became part of that child who went forth every
day, and who now goes, and will always go forth every day.
TO A FOILED EUROPEAN REVOLUTIONNAIRE.
COURAGE yet ! my brother or my sister !
or any number of failures, Or by the indifference or ingratitude of the people, or
by any unfaithfulness, Or the show of the tushes of power, soldiers, cannon,
penal statutes. Revolt! and still revolt! revolt! What we believe in waits latent for ever through all the
continents, and all the islands and archipelagoes
of the sea; What we believe in invites no one, promises nothing,
sits in calmness and light, is positive and com
posed, knows no discouragement, Waiting patiently, waiting its time. (Not songs of loyalty alone are these, But songs of insurrection also ; For I am the sworn poet of every dauntless rebel, the
world over, And he going with me leaves peace and routine behind
him, And stakes his life, to be lost at any moment.)
Revolt! and the downfall of tyrants !-
advance and retreat, The infidel triumphs-or supposes he triumphs, Then the prison, scaffold, garrote, handcuffs, iron neck
lace and anklet, lead-balls, do their work, The named and unnamed heroes pass to other spheres, The great speakers and writers are exiled—they lie sick
in distant lands, The cause is asleep—the strongest throats are still,
choked with their own blood, The young men droop their eyelashes toward the ground
when they meet ; -But, for all this, liberty has not gone out of the place,
nor the infidel entered into full possession.
When liberty goes out of a place, it is not the first to
go, nor the second or third to go, It waits for all the rest to go--it is the last.
When there are no more memories of heroes and
martyrs, And when all life, and all the souls of men and women,
are discharged from any part of the earth, Then only shall liberty, or the idea of liberty, be dis
charged from that part of the earth, And the infidel come into full possession.
3. Then courage! European revolter ! revoltress! For, till all ceases, neither must you cease.
I do not know what you are for (I do not know what
I am for myself, nor what anything is for), But I will search carefully for it even in being foiled, In defeat, poverty, misconception, imprisonment-for
they too are great.