Page images
PDF
EPUB

Whatever they are to-day and whatever through time they

may be,

They each and all shall lift and pass away

and

cease from thee, While thou, Time's spirals rounding, out of thyself, thy

self still extricating, fusing, Equable, natural, mystical Union thou, (the mortal with

immortal blent,) Shalt soar toward the fulfilment of the future, the spirit of

the body and the mind, The soul, its destinies. The soul, its destinies, the real real, (Purport of all these apparitions of the real ;) In thee America, the soul, its destinies, Thou globe of globes ! thou wonder nebulous ! By many a throe of heat and cold convuls’d, (by these thy

self solidifying) Thou mental, mental orb -- thou New, indeed new, Spirit

ual World! The Present holds thee not for such vast growth as

thine, For such unparallel'd Aight as thine, such brood as thine, The FUTURE Only holds thee and can hold thee.

FROM NOON TO STARRY

NIGHT

FACES

Sauntering the pavement thus, or crossing the ceaseless

ferry, faces and faces and faces, I see them and complain not and am content with all.

Do you suppose I could be content with all if I thought

them their own finale ?

This now is too lamentable a face for a man,

Some abject louse asking leave to be, cringing for it,
Some milk-nosed maggot blessing what lets it wrig to its

hole.

This face is a dog's snout sniffing for garbage,
Snakes nest in that mouth, I hear the sibilant threat.
This face is a haze more chill than the arctic sea,
Its sleepy and wabbling icebergs crunch as they go.
This is a face of bitter herbs, this an emetic, they need no

label, And more of the drug-shelf, laudanum, caoutchouc, or

hog's-lard. This face is an epilepsy, its wordless tongue gives out the

unearthly cry, Its veins down the neck distend, its eyes roll till they show

nothing but their whites, Its teeth grit, the palms of the hands are cut by the

turn'd-in nails, The man falls struggling and foaming to the ground, while

he speculates well.

This face is bitten by vermin and worms,
And this is some murderer's knife with a half-pulld scab-

bard.

This face owes to the sexton his dismalest fee,
An unceasing death-bell tolls there.

Features of my equals would you trick me with your

creas'd and cadaverous march? Well, you cannot trick me. I see your rounded never-erased flow, I see 'neath the rims of your haggard and mean disguises. Splay and twist as you like, poke with the tangling fores

of fishes or rats, You'll be unmuzzled, you certainly will.

I saw the face of the most smear'd and slobbering idiot

they had at the asylum, And I knew for my consolation what they knew not, I knew of the agents that emptied and broke my brother, The same wait to clear the rubbish from the fallen tene

ment, And I shall look again in a score or two of ages, And I shall meet the real landlord perfect and unharm’d,

every inch as good as myself.

Out of this face emerge banners and horses — O superb!

I see what is coming, I see the high pioneer-caps, see staves of runners clearing

the way,

I hear victorious drums.

This face is a life-boat,
This is the face commanding and bearded, it asks no odds

of the rest, This face is Aavor’d fruit ready for eating, This face of a healthy honest boy is the programme of all

good. These faces bear testimony slumbering or awake, They show their descent from the Master himself. Off the word I have spoken I except not one-- red, white,

black, are all deific, In each house is the ovum, it comes forth after a thousand

years.
Spots or cracks at the windows do not disturb me,
Tall and sufficient stand behind and make signs to me,
I read the promise and patiently wait.

THE MYSTIC TRUMPETER

I

Hark, some wild trumpeter, some strange musician, Hovering unseen in air, vibrates capricious tunes to-night.

I hear thee trumpeter, listening alert I catch thy notes,
Now pouring, whirling like a tempest round me,
Now low, subdued, now in the distance lost.

2

Come nearer bodiless one, haply in thee resounds
Some dead composer, haply thy pensive life
Was fill’d with aspirations high, unform’d ideals,
Waves, oceans musical, chaotically surging,
That now ecstatic ghost, close to me bending, thy cornet

echoing, pealing, Gives out to no one's ears but mine, but freely gives to

mine, That I may thee translate.

3 Blow trumpeter free and clear, I follow thee, While at thy liquid prelude, glad, serene, The fretting world, the streets, the noisy hours of day

withdraw, A holy calm descends like dew upon me, I walk in cool refreshing night the walks of Paradise, I scent the grass, the moist air and the roses ; Thy song expands my numb'd imbonded spirit, thou freest,

launchest me, Floating and basking upon heaven's lake.

4 Blow again trumpeter! and for my sensuous eyes, Bring the old pageants, show the feudal world. What charm thy music works! thou makest pass before

me, Ladies and cavaliers long dead, barons are in their castle

halls, the troubadours are singing, Arm’d knights go forth to redress wrongs, some in quest

of the holy Graal; I see the tournament, I see the contestants incased in

heavy armor seated on stately champing horses, I hear the shouts, the sounds of blows and smiting steel;

I see the Crusaders' tumultuous armies — hark, how the

cymbals clang, Lo, where the monks walk in advance, bearing the cross on high.

5 Blow again trumpeter! and for thy theme, Take now the enclosing theme of all, the solvent and the

setting, Love, that is pulse of all, the sustenance and the pang, The heart of man and woman all for love, No other theme but love — knitting, enclosing, all-diffus

ing love.

O how the immortal phantoms crowd around me!
I see the vast alembic ever working, I see and know the

Aames that heat the world,
The glow, the blush, the beating hearts of lovers,
So blissful happy some, and some so silent, dark, and nigh

to death; Love, that is all the earth to lovers — love, that mocks

time and space, Love, that is day and night — love, that is sun and moon

and stars,

Love, that is crimson, sumptuous, sick with perfume, No other words but words of love, no other thought but love.

6 Blow again trumpeter — conjure war’s alarums. Swift to thy spell a shuddering hum like distant thunder

rolls, Lo, where the arm’d men hasten - lo, mid the clouds of

dust the glint of bayonets, I see the grime-faced cannoneers, I mark the rosy Aash

amid the smoke, I hear the cracking of the guns; Nor war alone — thy fearful music-song, wild player,

brings every sight of fear, The deeds of ruthless brigands, rapine, murder — I hear

the cries for help!

« PreviousContinue »