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1

Camerado, I give you my hand!

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ash'd and give you my love more precious than money, I give you myself before preaching or law;

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ath under FLOOD-TIDE below me! I see you face to face

sun also face to face/

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Let the paper remain on the desk unwritten, and the book on the shelf unopen'd!

Let the tools remain in the workshop! let the money remain unearn'd!

Let the school stand! mind not the cry of the teacher !

Let the preacher preach in his pulpit ! let the lawyer plead in the court, and the judge expound the law.

Will you give me yourself? will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live ?

CROSSING BROOKLYN FERRY.

Clouds of the west,

I

there half an hour high-I see you

Crowds of men and women attired in the usual costumes, how
curious you are to me!

On the ferry-boats the hundreds and hundreds that cross, return-
ing 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-join'd scheme, myself disintegrated,
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 passage over the river,
The current rushing so swiftly and swimming with me far away,
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 fallingback to the sea of the ebb-tide

3

It avails not, time nor place

distance avails not,

I am with you, you men and women of a generation, or ever so many generations hence,

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 refresh'd by the gladness of the river and the
bright flow, I was refresh'd,

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 thickstemm'd pipes of steamboats, I look'd

I too many and many a time cross'd the river of old,

Watched the Twelfth-month sea-gulls, saw them high in the air floating with motionless wings, oscillating their bodies, Saw how the glistening yellow lit up parts of their bodies and left the rest in strong shadow,

Saw the slow-wheeling circles and the gradual edging toward the

south,

Saw the reflection of the summer sky in the water,/

Had my eyes dazzled by the shimmering track of beams,
Look'd at the fine centrifugal spokes of light round the shape of
my head in the sunlit water,

Look'd on the haze on the hills southward and south-westward,
Look'd on the vapor as it flew in fleeces tinged with violet,
Look'd toward the lower bay to notice the vessels arriving
Saw their approach, saw aboard those that were near me,
Saw the white sails of schooners and sloops, saw the ships at anchor,
The sailors at work in the rigging or out astride the spars,
The round masts, the swinging motion of the hulls, the slender
serpentine pennants,

The large and small steamers in motion, the pilots in their pilot

houses,

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The white wake left by the passage, the quick tremulous whirl of the wheels,

The flags of all nations, the falling of them at sunset, The scallop-edged waves in the twilight, the ladled cups, the frolicsome crests and glistening

The stretch afar growing dimmer and dimmer, the gray walls of the granite storehouses by the docks

On the river the shadowy group, the big steam-tug closely flank'd on each side by the barges the hay-boat, the belated lighter,

On the neighboring shore the fires from the foundry chimneys/ burning high and glaringly into the night,

Casting their flicker of black contrasted with wild red and yellow light over the tops of houses, and down into the clefts of streets

4

These and all else were to me the same as they are to you,
I loved well those cities, loved well the stately and rapid river,
The men and women I saw were all near to me, /

Others the same
others who look back on me because I look'd
forward to them,

(The time will come, though I stop here to-day and to-night.)

5

What is it then between us?

What is the count of the scores or hundreds of years between us?

1

Whatever it is, it avails not distance avails not, and place avails not,

I too lived, Brooklyn of ample hills was mine,

I too walk'd the streets of Manhattan island, and bathed in the waters around it,

I too felt the curious abrupt questionings stir within me,

In the day among crowds of people sometimes they came upon me,

In my walks home late at night or as I lay in my bed they came

upon me,

I too had been struck from the float forever held in solution,
I too had receiv'd identity by my body,

That I was I knew was of my body, and what I should be I knew
I should be of my body.'

6

It is not upon you alone the dark patches fall,
The dark threw its patches down upon me also,

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The best I had done seem'd to me blank, and suspicious,
My great thoughts as I supposed them, were they not in reality

meagre?

Nor is it you alone who know what it is to be evil
I am he who knew what it was to be evil,
I too knitted the old knot of contrariety,
Blabb'd, blush'd, resented, lied, stole, grudg'd/
Had guile, anger, lust, hot wishes I dared not speak
Was wayward, vain, greedy, shallow, sly, cowardly, malignant,
The wolf, the snake, the hog, not wanting in me,

The cheating look, the frivolous word, the adulterous wish, not

wanting,

Refusals, hates, postponements, meanness, laziness,/none of these wanting,

Was one with the rest, the days and haps of the rest,

Was call'd by my nighest name by clear loud voices of young men as they saw me approaching or passing

Felt their arms on my neck as I stood, or the negligent leaning of their flesh against me as I sat,

Saw many I loved in the street or ferry-boat or public assembly, yet never told them a word,

Lived the same life with the rest, the same old laughing, gnawing

sleeping,

Play'd the part that still looks back on the actor or actress, The same old role, the role that is what we make it, as great as we like,

Or as small as we like, or both great and small/

7

Closer yet I approach you,/

What thought you have of me now, I had as much of you, in stores in advance,

I consider'd long and seriously of you before you were born.

Who was to know what should come home to me?
Who knows but I am enjoying this?

u/I laid

Who knows, for all the distance, but I am as good as looking at you now, for all you cannot see me?

8

Ah, what can ever be more stately and admirable to me than masthemm'd Manhattan?

River and sunset and scallop-edg'd waves of flood-tide? The sea-gulls oscillating their bodies, the hay-boat in the twilight and the belated lighter?

What gods can exceed these that clasp me by the hand and with voices I love call me promptly and loudly by my nighest name as I approach?

What is more subtle than this which ties me to the woman or man that looks in my face?

Which fuses me into you now and pours my meaning into you?

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not?

We understand then do we not
What I promis'd without mentioning it/have you not accepted?
What the study could not teach what the preaching could not
accomplish is accomplish'd, is it not?

9

Flow on river flow with the flood-tide, and ebb with the ebbtide!

Frolic on, crested and scallop-edg'd waves

Gorgeous clouds of the sunset! drench with your splendor me or
the men and women generations after mey
Cross from shore to shore,/countless crowds of passengers
Stand up tall masts of Mannahatta / stand up, beautiful hills of

Brooklyn!

Throb, baffled and curious brain! throw out questions and answers Suspend here and everywhere/eternal float of solution!

Gaze loving and thirsting eyes,/in the house or street or public

assembly!

Sound out, voices of young men loudly and musically call me by my nighest name

Live, old life! play the part that looks back on the actor or actress Play the old role, the role that is great or small according as one

makes it!

!

Consider, you who peruse me, whether I may not in unknown ways be looking upon you Be firm rail over the river, to support those who lean idly, yet haste with the hasting current/;

Fly on, sea-birds fly sideways, or wheel in large circles high in

the air;

Receive the summer sky, you water, and faithfully hold it till all downcast eyes have time to take it from you!

Diverge, fine spokes of light, from the shape of my head, or any one's head, in the sunlit water!

Come on, ships from the lower bay! pass up or down, white-sail'd schooners, sloops, lighters!

Flaunt away, flags of all nations! be duly lower'd at sunset! Burn high your fires, foundry 'chimneys! cast black shadows at nightfall cast red and yellow light over the tops of the houses

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