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FOR YOU O DEMOCRACY.
COME, I will make the continent indissoluble,
I will make the most splendid race the sun ever shone upon,
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.
you these from me, O Democracy, to serve you ma femme ! For you, for you I am trilling these songs.
THESE I SINGING IN SPRING.
THESE I singing in spring collect for lovers,
(For who but I should understand lovers and all their sorrow and joy?
And who but I should be the poet of comrades?)
Collecting I traverse the garden the world, but soon I pass the
Now along the pond-side, now wading in a little, fearing not the
Now by the post-and-rail fences where the old stones thrown there, pick'd from the fields, have accumulated,
(Wild-flowers and vines and weeds come up through the stones and partly cover them, beyond these I pass,)
Far, far in the forest, or sauntering later in summer, before I think where I go,
Solitary, smelling the earthy smell, stopping now and then in the
Alone I had thought, yet soon a troop gathers around me,
Some walk by my side and some behind, and some embrace my
arms or neck,
They the spirits of dear friends dead or alive, thicker they come, a great crowd, and I in the middle,
Collecting, dispensing, singing, there I wander with them,
Plucking something for tokens, tossing toward whoever is near me, Here, lilac, with a branch of pine,
Here, out of my pocket, some moss which I pull'd off a live-oak in Florida as it hung trailing down,
Here, some pinks and laurel leaves, and a handful of sage,
(O here I last saw him that tenderly loves me, and returns again never to separate from me,
And this, O this shall henceforth be the token of comrades, this calamus-root shall,
Interchange it youths with each other! let none render it back!) And twigs of maple and a bunch of wild orange and chestnut, And stems of currants and plum-blows, and the aromatic cedar, These I compass'd around by a thick cloud of spirits,
Wandering, point to or touch as I pass, or throw them loosely from me,
Indicating to each one what he shall have, giving something to
But what I drew from the water by the pond-side, that I reserve, I will give of it, but only to them that love as I myself am capable of loving.
NOT HEAVING FROM MY RIBB'D BREAST ONLY.
Nor heaving from my ribb'd breast only,
Not in sighs at night in rage dissatisfied with myself,
Not in many an oath and promise broken,
Not in this beating and pounding at my temples and wrists,
Not in the curious systole and diastole within which will one day
Not in many a hungry wish told to the skies only,
Not in cries, laughter, defiances, thrown from me when alone far in the wilds,
Not in husky pantings through clinch'd teeth,
Not in sounded and resounded words, chattering words, echoes, dead words,
Not in the murmurs of my dreams while I sleep,
Nor the other murmurs of these incredible dreams of every day, Nor in the limbs and senses of my body that take you and dismiss
you continually — not there,
Not in any or all of them O adhesiveness! O pulse of my life! Need I that you exist and show yourself any more than in these
OF THE TERRIBLE DOUBT OF APPEARANCES.
Of the terrible doubt of appearances,
Of the uncertainty after all, that we may be deluded,
That may-be reliance and hope are but speculations after all,
The skies of day and night, colors, densities, forms, may-be these are (as doubtless they are) only apparitions, and the real something has yet to be known,
(How often they dart out of themselves as if to confound me and mock me!
How often I think neither I know, nor any man knows, aut of them,) May-be seeming to me what they are (as doubtless they indeed but seem) as from my present point of view, and might prove (as of course they would) nought of what they appear, or nought anyhow, from entirely changed points of view;
To me these and the like of these are curiously answer'd by my lovers, my dear friends,
When he whom I love travels with me or sits a long while holding me by the hand,
When the subtle air, the impalpable, the sense that words and reason hold not, surround us and pervade us,
Then I am charged with untold and untellable wisdom, I am silent, I require nothing further,
I cannot answer the question of appearances or that of identity beyond the grave,
But I walk or sit indifferent, I am satisfied,
He ahold of my hand has completely satisfied me.
THE BASE OF ALL METAPHYSICS.
AND now gentlemen,
A word I give to remain in your memories and minds,
As base and finalè too for all metaphysics.
(So to the students the old professor,
At the close of his crowded course.)
Having studied the new and antique, the Greek and Germanic
Kant having studied and stated, Fichte and Schelling and Hegel,
Stated the lore of Plato, and Socrates greater than Plato,
I see reminiscent to-day those Greek and Germanic systems,
Yet underneath Socrates clearly see, and underneath Christ the divinecee,
The dear love of man for his comrade, the attraction of friend to friend,
Of the well-married husband and wife, of children and parents, Of city for city and land for land.
RECORDERS AGES HENCE.
RECORDERS ages hence,
Come, I will take you down underneath this impassive exterior, I will tell you what to say of me,
Publish my name and hang up my picture as that of the tenderest
The friend the lover's portrait, of whom his friend his lover was
Who was not proud of his songs, but of the measureless ocean of love within him, and freely pour'd it forth,
Who often walk'd lonesome walks thinking of his dear friends, his lovers,
Who pensive away from one he lov'd often lay sleepless and dissatisfied at night,
Who knew too well the sick, sick dread lest the one he lov'd might secretly be indifferent to him,
Whose happiest days were far away through fields, in woods, on hills, he and another wandering hand in hand, they twain apart from other men,
Who oft as he saunter'd the streets curv'd with his arm the shoulder of his friend, while the arm of his friend rested upon him also.
WHEN I HEARD AT THE CLOSE OF THE DAY.
WHEN I heard at the close of the day how my name had been receiv'd with plaudits in the capitol, still it was not a happy night for me that follow'd,
And else when I carous'd, or when my plans were accomplish'd,
still I was not happy,
But the day when I rose at dawn from the bed of perfect health, refresh'd, singing, inhaling the ripe breath of autumn,
When I saw the full moon in the west grow pale and disappear in the morning light,
When I wander'd alone over the beach, and undressing bathed, laughing with the cool waters, and saw the sun rise,
And when I thought how my dear friend my lover was on his way coming, O then I was happy,
O then each breath tasted sweeter, and all that day my food nourish'd me more, and the beautiful day pass'd well,
And the next came with equal joy, and with the next at evening came my friend,
And that night while all was still I heard the waters roll slowly continually up the shores,
I heard the hissing rustle of the liquid and sands as directed to me whispering to congratulate me,
For the one I love most lay sleeping by me under the same cover in the cool night,
In the stillness in the autumn moonbeams his face was inclined
And his arm lay lightly around my breast--and that night I was
ARE YOU THE NEW PERSON DRAWN TOWARD ME?
ARE you the new person drawn toward me?
To begin with take warning, I am surely far different from what you suppose;
Do you suppose you will find in me your ideal?
Do you think it so easy to have me become your lover?
Do you think the friendship of me would be unalloy'd satisfaction? Do you think I am trusty and faithful?
Do you see no further than this façade, this smooth and tolerant manner of me?
Do you suppose yourself advancing on real ground toward a real heroic man?
Have you no thought O dreamer that it may be all maya, illusion?
ROOTS AND LEAVES THEMSELVES ALONE.
Roots and leaves themselves alone are these,
Scents brought to men and women from the wild woods and pond-side,