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But remember the little voice that I heard wailing, and wait with perfect trust, no matter how long,
And from to-day sad and cogent I maintain the bequeath'd cause, as for all lands,
And I send these words to Paris with my love,
And I guess some chansonniers there will understand them,
OI think the east wind brings a triumphal and free march,
MYSELF AND MINE.
MYSELF and mine gymnastic ever,
To stand the cold or heat, to take good aim with a gun, to sail a
And to hold our own in terrible positions on land and sea.
Not for an embroiderer,
(There will always be plenty of embroiderers, I welcome them also,) But for the fibre of things and for inherent men and women.
Not to chisel ornaments,
But to chisel with free stroke the heads and limbs of plenteous supreme Gods, that the States may realize them walking and talking.
Let me have my own way,
Let others promulge the laws, I will make no account of the laws, Let others praise eminent men and hold up peace, I hold up agitation and conflict,
I praise no eminent man, I rebuke to his face the one that was thought most worthy.
(Who are you? and what are you secretly guilty of all your life? Will you turn aside all your life? will you grub and chatter all
And who are you, blabbing by rote, years, pages, languages, reminiscences,
Unwitting to-day that you do not know how to speak properly a single word?)
Let others finish specimens, I never finish specimens,
I start them by exhaustless laws as Nature does, fresh and modern continually.
I give nothing as duties,
What others give as duties I give as living impulses, (Shall I give the heart's action as a duty?)
Let others dispose of questions, I dispose of nothing, I arouse unanswerable questions,
Who are they I see and touch, and what about them?
What about these likes of myself that draw me so close by tender directions and indirections?
I call to the world to distrust the accounts of my friends, but listen to my enemies, as I myself do,
I charge you forever reject those who would expound me, for I cannot expound myself,
I charge that there be no theory or school founded out of me,
I charge you to leave all free, as I have left all free.
After me, vista !
OI see life is not short, but immeasurably long,
I henceforth tread the world chaste, temperate, an early riser, a steady grower,
Every hour the semen of centuries, and still of centuries.
I must follow up these continual lessons of the air, water, earth, I perceive I have no time to lose.
YEAR OF METEORS.
YEAR of meteors! brooding year!
I would bind in words retrospective some of your deeds and signs,
I would sing your contest for the 19th Presidentiad,
I would sing how an old man, tall, with white hair, mounted the scaffold in Virginia,
(I was at hand, silent I stood with teeth shut close, I watch'd,
I stood very near you old man when cool and indifferent, but trembling with age and your unheal'd wounds you mounted the scaffold ;)
I would sing in my copious song your census returns of the States, The tables of population and products, I would sing of your ships
and their cargoes,
The proud black ships of Manhattan arriving, some fill'd with immigrants, some from the isthmus with cargoes of gold, Songs thereof would I sing, to all that hitherward comes would I
And you would I sing, fair stripling! welcome to you from me, young prince of England!
(Remember you surging Manhattan's crowds as you pass'd with your cortege of nobles?
There in the crowds stood I, and singled you out with attachment ;) Nor forget I to sing of the wonder, the ship as she swam up my bay,
Well-shaped and stately the Great Eastern swam up my bay, she was 600 feet long,
Her moving swiftly surrounded by myriads of small craft I forget not to sing;
Nor the comet that came unannounced out of the north flaring in heaven,
Nor the strange huge meteor-procession dazzling and clear shooting over our heads,
(A moment, a moment long it sail'd its balls of unearthly light over our heads,
Then departed, dropt in the night, and was gone ;)
Of such, and fitful as they, I sing — with gleams from them would I gleam and patch these chants,
Your chants, O year all mottled with evil and good — year of
Year of comets and meteors transient and strange-lo! even here one equally transient and strange !
As I flit through you hastily, soon to fall and be gone, what is this
What am I myself but one of your meteors?
With my fathers and mothers and the accumulations of past
With all which, had it not been, I would not now be here, as I
With Egypt, India, Phenicia, Greece and Rome,
With the Kelt, the Scandinavian, the Alb and the Saxon,
With antique maritime ventures, laws, artisanship, wars and journeys,
With the poet, the skald, the saga, the myth, and the oracle, With the sale of slaves, with enthusiasts, with the troubadour, the crusader, and the monk,
With those old continents whence we have come to this new continent,
With the fading kingdoms and kings over there,
With the fading religions and priests,
With the small shores we look back to from our own large and present shores,
With countless years drawing themselves onward and arrived at these years,
You and me arrived America arrived and making this year,
O but it is not the years it is I, it is You,
We are the skald, the oracle, the monk and the knight, we easily include them and more,
We stand amid time beginningless and endless, we stand amid evil and good,
All swings around us, there is as much darkness as light,
The very sun swings itself and its system of planets around us,
As for me, (torn, stormy, amid these vehement days,)
I have the idea of all, and am all and believe in all,
I believe materialism is true and spiritualism is true, I reject no part.
(Have I forgotten any part? any thing in the past?
Come to me whoever and whatever, till I give you recognition.)
I respect Assyria, China, Teutonia, and the Hebrews,
I adopt each theory, myth, god, and demi-god,
I see that the old accounts, bibles, genealogies, are true, without exception,
I assert that all past days were what they must have been,
And that they could no-how have been better than they were,
And that to-day and America could no-how be better than they
In the name of these States and in your and my name, the Past,
And in the name of these States and in your and my name, the Present time.
I know that the past was great and the future will be great, And I know that both curiously conjoint in the present time, (For the sake of him I typify, for the common average man's sake, your sake if you are he,)
And that where I am or you are this present day, there is the centre of all days, all races,
And there is the meaning to us of all that has ever come of races and days, or ever will come.
OVER the Western sea hither from Niphon come,
Libertad! I do not know whether others behold what I behold,
Bringing up the rear, hovering above, around, or in the ranks marching,
But I will sing you a song of what I behold Libertad.
When million-footed Manhattan unpent descends to her pavements, When the thunder-cracking guns arouse me with the proud roar I love,
When the round-mouth'd guns out of the smoke and smell I love spit their salutes,
When the fire-flashing guns have fully alerted me, and heavenclouds canopy my city with a delicate thin haze,
When gorgeous the countless straight stems, the forests at the wharves, thicken with colors,
When every ship richly drest carries her flag at the peak,
When pennants trail and street-festoons hang from the windows,