Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

And thee my soul,

Joys, ceaseless exercises, exaltations,

Thy yearning amply fed at last, prepared to meet,
Thy mates, eidólons.

Thy body permanent,

The body lurking there within thy body,

The only purport of the form thou art, the real I myself,
An image, an eidólon.

Thy very songs not in thy songs,

No special strains to sing, none for itself,

But from the whole resulting, rising at last and floating,
A round full-orb'd eidólon.

FOR HIM I SING.

FOR him I sing,

I raise the present on the past,

(As some perennial tree out of its roots, the present on the past,} With time and space I him dilate and fuse the immortal laws, To make himself by them the law unto himself.

WHEN I READ THE BOOK.

WHEN I read the book, the biography famous,

And is this then (said I) what the author calls a man's life? And so will some one when I am dead and gone write my life? (As if any man really knew aught of my life,

Why even I myself I often think know little or nothing of my real

life,

Only a few hints, a few diffused faint clews and indirections
I seek for my own use to trace out here.)

BEGINNING MY STUDIES.

BEGINNING my studies the first step pleas'd me so much,

The mere fact consciousness, these forms, the power of motion,
The least insect or animal, the senses, eyesight, love,
The first step I say awed me and pleas'd me so much,
I have hardly gone and hardly wish'd to go any farther,
But stop and loiter all the time to sing it in ecstatic songs.

[ocr errors]

BEGINNERS.

How they are provided for upon the earth, (appearing at intervals,)

How dear and dreadful they are to the earth,

How they inure to themselves as much as to any—what a paradox appears their age,

How people respond to them, yet know them not,

How there is something relentless in their fate all times,

How all times mischoose the objects of their adulation and reward,

And how the same inexorable price must still be paid for the same great purchase.

TO THE STATES.

To the States or any one of them, or any city of the States, Resist much, obey little,

Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved,

Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city of this earth, ever afterward resumes its liberty.

ON JOURNEYS THROUGH THE STATES.

ON journeys through the States we start,

(Ay through the world, urged by these songs,
Sailing henceforth to every land, to every sea,)
We willing learners of all, teachers of all, and lovers of all.

We have watch'd the seasons dispensing themselves and passing

on,

And have said, Why should not a man or woman do as much as the seasons, and effuse as much?

We dwell a while in every city and town,

We pass through Kanada, the North-east, the vast valley of the Mississippi, and the Southern States,

We confer on equal terms with each of the States,

We make trial of ourselves and invite men and women to hear,

We say to ourselves, Remember, fear not, be candid, promulge the body and the soul,

Dwell a while and pass on, be copious, temperate, chaste, mag

netic,

And what you effuse may then return as the seasons return,
And may be just as much as the seasons.

TO A CERTAIN CANTATRICE.

HERE, take this gift,

I was reserving it for some hero, speaker, or general,

One who should serve the good old cause, the great idea, the prog. ress and freedom of the race,

Some brave confronter of despots, some daring rebel ;

But I see that what I was reserving belongs to you just as much as to any.

ME IMPERTURBE.

ME imperturbe, standing at ease in Nature,

Master of all or mistress of all, aplomb in the midst of irrational things,

Imbued as they, passive, receptive, silent as they,

Finding my occupation, poverty, notoriety, foibles, crimes, less im portant than I thought,

Me toward the Mexican sea, or in the Mannahatta or the Tennes see, or far north or inland,

A river man, or a man of the woods or of any farm-life of these States or of the coast, or the lakes or Kanada,

Me wherever my life is lived, O to be self-balanced for contingen

cies,

To confront night, storms, hunger, ridicule, accidents, rebuffs, as ́ the trees and animals do.

SAVANTISM.

THITHER as I look I see each result and glory retracing itself and nestling close, always obligated,

Thither hours, months, years-thither trades, compacts, establishments, even the most minute,

Thither every-day life, speech, utensils, politics, persons, estates; Thither we also, I with my leaves and songs, trustful, admirant, As a father to his father going takes his children along with him.

THE SHIP STARTING.

Lo, the unbounded sea,

On its breast a ship starting, spreading all sails, carrying even he moonsails,

The pennant is flying aloft as she speeds she speeds so stately below emulous waves press forward,

They surround the ship with shining curving motions and foam.

[ocr errors]

I HEAR AMERICA SINGING.

I HEAR America singing, the varied carols I hear,

Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,

The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam, The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,

The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,

The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,

The wood-cutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,

The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing,

Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,

The day what belongs to the day at night the party of young

fellows, robust, friendly,

Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

[ocr errors]

WHAT PLACE IS BESIEGED?

WHAT place is besieged, and vainly tries to raise the siege?
Lo, I send to that place a commander, swift, brave, immortal,
And with him horse and foot, and parks of artillery,
And artillery-men, the deadliest that ever fired gun.

STILL THOUGH THE ONE I SING.

STILL though the one I sing,

(One, yet of contradictions made,) I dedicate to Nationality, I leave in him revolt, (O latent right of insurrection! O quenchless, indispensable fire!)

SHUT NOT YOUR DOORS.

SHUT not your doors to me proud libraries,

For that which was lacking on all your well-fill'd shelves, yet needed most, I bring,

Forth from the war emerging, a book I have made,

The words of my book nothing, the drift of it every thing,

A book separate, not link'd with the rest nor felt by the intellect, But you ye untold latencies will thrill to every page.

POETS TO COME.

POETS to come! orators, singers, musicians to come!
Not to-day is to justify me and answer what I am for,

But you, a new brood, native, athletic, continental, greater than before known,

Arouse! for you must justify me.

I myself but write one or two indicative words for the future,

I but advance a moment only to wheel and hurry back in the darkness.

I am a man who, sauntering along without fully stopping, turns a casual look upon you and then averts his face,

Leaving it to you to prove and define it,
Expecting the main things from you.

TO YOU.

STRANGER, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me?

And why should I not speak to you?

THOU READER.

THOU reader throbbest life and pride and love the same as I,
Therefore for thee the following chants.

4

[ocr errors]

STARTING FROM PAUMANOK.

I

STARTING from fish-shape Paumanok where I was born,
Well-begotten, and rais'd by a perfect mother,

After roaming many lands, lover of populous pavements,
Dweller in Mannahatta my city, or on southern savannas,

Or a soldier camp'd or carrying my knapsack and gun, or a mind in California,

Or rude in my home in Dakota's woods, my diet meat, my drink from the spring,

Or withdrawn to muse and meditate in some deep recess,

Far from the clank of crowds intervals passing rapt and happy,

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »