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Something there is more immortal even than the stars,
(Many the burials, many the days and nights, passing away,)
Something that shall endure longer even than lustrous

Longer than sun or any revolving satellite,
Or the radiant sisters the Pleiades.

Wild, wild the storm, and the sea high running,
Steady the roar of the gale, with incessant undertone mut-

Shouts of demoniac laughter fitfully piercing and pealing,
Waves, air, midnight, their savagest trinity lashing,
Out in the shadows there milk-white combs careering,
On beachy slush and sand spirts of snow fierce slanting,
Where through the murk the easterly death-wind breasting,
Through cutting swirl and spray watchful and firm ad-

vancing, (That in the distance ! is that a wreck ? is the red signal

faring ?) Slush and sand of the beach tireless till daylight wending, Steadily, slowly, through hoarse roar never remitting, Along the midnight edge by those milk-white combs ca

reering, A group of dim, weird forms, struggling, the night con

fronting, That savage trinity warily watching.


When I heard the learn'd astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns be-

fore me,

When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide,

and measure them, When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured

with much applause in the lecture-room,

How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.

I sit and look out upon all the sorrows of the world, and

upon all oppression and shame, I hear secret convulsive sobs from young men at anguish

with themselves, remorseful after deeds done, I see in low life the mother misused by her children,

dying, neglected, gaunt, desperate, I see the wife misused by her husband, I see the treacher

ous seducer of young women, I mark the ranklings of jealousy and unrequited love

attempted to be hid, I see these sights on the earth, I see the workings of battle, pestilence, tyranny, I see

martyrs and prisoners, I observe a famine at sea, I observe the sailors casting lots

who shall be kill'd to preserve the lives of the rest, I observe the slights and degradations cast by arrogant

persons upon laborers, the poor, and upon negroes, and

the like; All these all the meanness and agony without end I

sitting look out upon, See, hear, and am silent.

Through the ample open door of the peaceful country

A sunlit pasture field with cattle and horses feeding,
And haze and vista, and the far horizon fading away.

On a flat road runs the well-train'd runner,
He is lean and sinewy with muscular legs,
He is thinly clothed, he leans forward as he runs,
With lightly closed fists and arms partially rais'd.

Hast never come to thee an hour,
A sudden gleam divine, precipitating, bursting all these

bubbles, fashions, wealth? These eager business aims — books, politics, art, amours, To utter nothingness?



Poet. My limbs, my veins dilate, my theme is clear at last, Banner so broad advancing out of the night, I sing you

haughty and resolute, I burst through where I waited long, too long, deafen'd

and blinded, My hearing and tongue are come to me, (a little child

taught me,) I hear from above O pennant of war your ironical call and

demand, Insensate ! insensate ! (yet I at any rate chant you,) O

banner! Not houses of peace indeed are you, nor any nor all their

prosperity, (if need be, you shall again have every one

of those houses to destroy them, You thought not to destroy those valuable houses, standing

fast, full of comfort, built with money, May they stand fast, then ? not an hour except you above

them and all stand fast ;) O banner, not money so precious are you, not farm prod

uce you, nor the material good nutriment, Nor excellent stores, nor landed on wharves from the

ships, Not the superb ships with sail-power or steam-power,

fetching and carrying cargoes,

Nor machinery, vehicles, trade, nor revenues — but you as

henceforth I see you, Running up out of the night, bringing your cluster of stars,

(ever-enlarging stars,) Divider of daybreak you, cutting the air, touch'd by the

sun, measuring the sky, (Passionately seen and yearn’d for by one poor little child, While others remain busy or smartly talking, forever teach

ing thrift, thrift ;) O you up there! O pennant ! where you undulate like a

snake hissing so curious, Out of reach, an idea only, yet furiously fought for, risking

bloody death, loved by me, So loved — O you banner leading the day with stars

brought from the night! Valueless, object of eyes, over all and demanding all -(ab

solute owner of all) — O banner and pennant ! I too leave the rest — great as it is, it is nothing - houses,

machines are nothing — I see them not, I see but you, O warlike pennant ! O banner so broad,

with stripes, I sing you only, Flapping up there in the wind.



Rise O days from your fathomless deeps, till you loftier,

fiercer sweep,

Long for my soul hungering gymnastic I devour'd what

the earth gave me, Long I roam’d the woods of the north, long I watch'd

Niagara pouring, I traveld the prairies over and slept on their breast, I

cross'd the Nevadas, I cross'd the plateaus, I ascended the towering rocks along the Pacific, I sail'd

out to sea, I saild through the storm, I was refresh'd by the storm, I watch'd with joy the threatening maws of the waves,

I mark'd the white combs where they career'd so high,

curling over, I heard the wind piping, I saw the black clouds, Saw from below what arose and mounted, (O superb! O

wild as my heart, and powerful !) Heard the continuous thunder as it bellow'd after the

lightning, Noted the slender and jagged threads of lightning as sud

den and fast amid the din they chased each other across

the sky;

These, and such as these, I, elate, saw --- saw with won

der, yet pensive and masterful, All the menacing might of the globe uprisen around me, Yet there with my soul I fed, I fed content, supercilious.


'Twas well, O soul — 'twas a good preparation you gave

me, Now we advance our latent and ampler hunger to fill, Now we go forth to receive what the earth and the sea

never gave us, Not through the mighty woods we go, but through the

mightier cities, Something for us is pouring now more than Niagara pour

ing, Torrents of men, (sources and rills of the Northwest are

you indeed inexhaustible ?) What, to pavements and homesteads here, what were

those storms of the mountains and sea ? What, to passions I witness around me to-day? was the

sea risen? Was the wind piping the pipe of death under the black

clouds ? Lo! from deeps more unfathomable, something more

deadly and savage, Manhattan rising, advancing with menacing front — Cin

cinnati, Chicago, unchain'd; What was that swell I saw on the ocean? behold what

comes here,

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