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O LIVING always, always dying!
O the burials of me past and present,
O me while I stride ahead, material, visible, imperious as ever;
O me, what I was for years, now dead, (I lament not, I am content ;)
O to disengage myself from those corpses of me, which I turn and look at where I cast them,
To pass on, (O living! always living!) and leave the corpses behind.
TO ONE SHORTLY TO DIE.
FROM all the rest I single out you, having a message for you,
I am exact and merciless, but I love you - there is no escape for you.
Softly I lay my right hand upon you, you just feel it,
I do not argue, I bend my head close and half envelop it,
I sit quietly by, I remain faithful,
I am more than nurse, more than parent or neighbor,
I absolve you from all except yourself spiritual bodily, that is eternal, you yourself will surely escape,
The corpse you will leave will be but excrementitious.
The sun bursts through in unlooked-for directions,
You do not see the medicines, you do not mind the weeping friends, I am with you,
I exclude others from you, there is nothing to be commiserated, I do not commiserate, I congratulate you.
NIGHT ON THE PRAIRIES.
NIGHT on the prairies,
The supper is over, the fire on the ground burns low,
I walk by myself — I stand and look at the stars, which I think now
How plenteous! how spiritual! how resumé !
The same old man and soul—the same old aspirations, and the
I was thinking the day most splendid till I saw what the not-day exhibited,
I was thinking this globe enough till there sprang out so noiseless around me myriads of other globes.
Now while the great thoughts of space and eternity fill me I will measure myself by them,
And now touch'd with the lives of other globes arrived as far along as those of the earth,
Or waiting to arrive, or pass'd on farther than those of the earth,
OI see now that life cannot exhibit all to me, as the day cannot, I see that I am to wait for what will be exhibited by death.
As I sit with others at a great feast, suddenly while the music is playing,
To my mind, (whence it comes I know not,) spectral in mist of a wreck at sea,
Of certain ships, how they sail from port with flying streamers and wafted kisses, and that is the last of them,
Of the solemn and murky mystery about the fate of the President, Of the flower of the marine science of fifty generations founder'd off the Northeast coast and going down of the steamship Arctic going down,
Of the veil'd tableau
women gather'd together on deck, pale, heroic, waiting the moment that draws so close-O the
A huge sob―a few bubbles -the white foam spirting up
then the women gone,
Sinking there while the passionless wet flows on- and I now pondering, Are those women indeed gone?
Are souls drown'd and destroy'd so?
AT the last, tenderly,
From the walls of the powerful fortress'd house,
From the clasp of the knitted locks, from the keep of the wellclosed doors,
Let me be wafted.
Let me glide noiselessly forth;
With the key of softness unlock the locks with a whisper,
Tenderly be not impatient,
AS I WATCH'D THE PLOUGHMAN PLOUGHING.
As I watch'd the ploughman ploughing,
Or the sower sowing in the fields, or the harvester harvesting,
(Life, life is the tillage, and Death is the harvest according.)
THOU MOTHER WITH THY EQUAL
THOU Mother with thy equal brood,
Thou varied chain of different States, yet one identity only,
A special song before I go I'd sing o'er all the rest,
I'd sow a seed for thee of endless Nationality,
I'd show away ahead thy real Union, and how it may be accomplish'd.
The paths to the house I seek to make,
But leave to those to come the house itself.
Belief I sing, and preparation;
As Life and Nature are not great with reference to the present only,
But greater still from what is yet to come,
As a strong bird on pinions free,
Joyous, the amplest spaces heavenward cleaving,
The conceits of the poets of other lands I'd bring thee not,
Nor rhyme, nor the classics, nor perfume of foreign court or
But an odor I'd bring as from forests of pine in Maine, or breath of an Illinois prairie,
With open airs of Virginia or Georgia or Tennessee, or from Texas uplands, or Florida's glades,
Or the Saguenay's black stream, or the wide blue spread of
With presentment of Yellowstone's scenes, or Yosemite,
And murmuring under, pervading all, I'd bring the rustling sea
That endlessly sounds from the two Great Seas of the world.
And for thy subtler sense subtler refrains dread Mother,
By thee fact to be justified, blended with thought,
Brain of the New World, what a task is thine,
To formulate the Modern-out of the peerless grandeur of the modern,
Out of thyself, comprising science, to recast poems, churches, art, (Recast, may-be discard them, end them-may-be their work is done, who knows?)
By vision, hand, conception, on the background of the mighty past, the dead,
To limn with absolute faith the mighty living present.
And yet thou living present brain, heir of the dead, the Old World brain,
Thou that lay folded like an unborn babe within its folds so long, Thou carefully prepared by it so long-haply thou but unfoldest it, only maturest it,
It to eventuate in thee in thee,
the essence of the by-gone time contain'd
Its poems, churches, arts, unwitting to themselves, destined with
reference to thee;
Thou but the apples, long, long, long a-growing,
Sail, sail thy best, ship of Democracy,
Of value is thy freight, 'tis not the Present only,
Thou holdest not the venture of thyself alone, not of the Western continent alone,
Earth's résumé entire floats on thy keel O ship, is steadied by thy
With thee Time voyages in trust, the antecedent nations sink or swim with thee,
With all their ancient struggles, martyrs, heroes, epics, wars, thou bear'st the other continents,
Theirs, theirs as much as thine, the destination-port triumphant ; Steer then with good strong hand and wary eye O helmsman, thou carriest great companions,
Venerable priestly Asia sails this day with thee,
And royal feudal Europe sails with thee.
Beautiful world of new superber birth that rises to my eyes,