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ONE'S-SELF I SING.
ONE'S-SELF I sing, a simple separate person,
Of Life immense in passion, pulse, and power,
Of physiology from top to toe I sing,
Not physiognomy alone nor brain alone is worthy for the Muse, I
AS I PONDER'D IN SILENCE.
Terrible in beauty, age, and power,
The genius of poets of old lands,
As I ponder'd in silence,
Returning upon my poems, considering, lingering long,
As to me directing like flame its eyes,
With finger pointing to many immortal songs,
And menacing voice, What singest thou? it said,
Know'st thou not there is but one theme for ever-enduring bards ?
The making of perfect soldiers.
Be it so, then I answer'd,
I too haughty Shade also sing war, and a longer and greater one
Waged in my book with varying fortune, with flight, advance and
(Yet methinks certain, or as good as certain, at the last,) the field the world,
For life and death, for the Body and for the eternal Soul,
IN CABIN'D SHIPS AT SEA.
IN cabin'd ships at sea,
The boundless blue on every side expanding,
With whistling winds and music of the waves, the large imperious
Or some lone bark buoy'd on the dense marine,
Where joyous full of faith, spreading white sails,
She cleaves the ether mid the sparkle and the foam of day, or under many a star at night,
By sailors young and old haply will I, a reminiscence of the land, be read,
In full rapport at last.
Here are our thoughts, voyagers' thoughts,
Here not the land, firm land, alone appears, may then by them be
The sky o'erarches here, we feel the undulating deck beneath our feet,
We feel the long pulsation, ebb and flow of endless motion,
The tones of unseen mystery, the vague and vast suggestions of the briny world, the liquid-flowing syllables,
The perfume, the faint creaking of the cordage, the melancholy
The boundless vista and the horizon far and dim are all here,
Then falter not O book, fulfil your destiny,
You not a reminiscence of the land alone,
You too as a lone bark cleaving the ether, purpos'd I know not whither, yet ever full of faith,
Consort to every ship that sails, sail you!
Bear forth to them folded my love, (dear mariners, for you I fold it here in every leaf ;)
Speed on my book! spread your white sails my little bark athwart the imperious waves,
Chant on, sail on, bear o'er the boundless blue from me to every
This song for mariners and all their ships.
TO FOREIGN LANDS.
you ask'd for something to prove this puzzle the New
TO A HISTORIAN.
I HEARD that
And to define America, her athletic Democracy,
Therefore I send you my poems that you behold in them what you wanted.
You who celebrate bygones,
Who have explored the outward, the surfaces of the races, the life that has exhibited itself,
Who have treated of man as the creature of politics, aggregates, rulers and priests,
I, habitan of the Alleghanies, treating of him as he is in himself
in his own rights,
Pressing the pulse of the life that has seldom exhibited itself, (the great pride of man in himself,)
Chanter of Personality, outlining. what is yet to be,
TO THEE OLD CAUSE.
To thee old cause!
After a strange sad war, great war for thee,
(I think all war through time was really fought, and ever will be really fought, for thee,)
These chants for thee, the eternal march of thee.
(A war O soldiers not for itself alone,
Far, far more stood silently waiting behind, now to advance in this book.)
Thou orb of
Thou seething principle ! thou well-kept, latent germ ! thou centre ! Around the idea of thee the war revolving,
With all its angry and vehement play of causes,
(With vast results to come for thrice a thousand years,)
These recitatives for thee, - my book and the war are one, Merged in its spirit I and mine, as the contest hinged on thee, As a wheel on its axis turns, this book unwitting to itself, Around the idea of thee.
I MET a seer,
Passing the hues and objects of the world,
Put in thy chants said he,
No more the puzzling hour nor day, nor segments, parts, put in, Put first before the rest as light for all and entrance-song of all, That of eidólons.
Ever the dim beginning,
Ever the growth, the rounding of the circle,
Ever the summit and the merge at last, (to surely start again,)
Ever the mutable,
Ever materials, changing, crumbling, re-cohering,
Lo, I or you,
Or woman, man, or state, known or unknown,
The ostent evanescent,
The substance of an artist's mood or savan's studies long,
To fashion his eidolon.
Of every human life,
(The units gather'd, posted, not a thought, emotion, deed, left out,) The whole or large or small summ'd, added up,
In its eidólon.
The old, old urge,
Based on the ancient pinnacles, lo, newer, higher pinnacles,
The old, old urge, eidolons.
The present now and here,
America's busy, teeming, intricate whirl,
Of aggregate and segregate for only thence releasing,
These with the past,
Of vanish'd lands, of all the reigns of kings across the sea,
Densities, growth, façades,
Strata of mountains, soils, rocks, giant trees,
Exaltè, rapt, ecstatic,
The visible but their womb of birth,
Of orbic tendencies to shape and shape and shape,
All space, all time,
(The stars, the terrible perturbations of the suns,
The noiseless myriads,
The infinite oceans where the rivers empty,
The separate countless free identities, like eyesight,
Not this the world,
Nor these the universes, they the universes,
Purport and end, ever the permanent life of life,
Beyond thy lectures learn'd professor,
Beyond thy telescope or spectroscope observer keen, beyond all mathematics,
Beyond the doctor's surgery, anatomy, beyond the chemist with
The entities of entities, eidólons.
Unfix'd yet fix'd,
Ever shall be, ever have been and are,
The prophet and the bard,
Shall yet maintain themselves, in higher stages yet,
Shall mediate to the Modern, to Democracy, interpret yet to them, God and eidolons.