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I see ships Aloundering at sea, I behold on deck and below
deck the terrible tableaus.
7. O trumpeter, methinks I am myself the instrument thou
playest, Thou melt'st my heart, my brain — thou movest, drawest,
changest them at will; And now thy sullen notes send darkness through me, Thou takest away all cheering light, all hope, I see the enslaved, the overthrown, the hurt, the opprest of
the whole earth, I feel the measureless shame and humiliation of my race,
it becomes all mine, Mine too the revenges of humanity, the wrongs of
ages, baffled feuds and hatreds, Utter defeat upon me weighs -- all lost — the foe victori
ous, (Yet ʼmid the ruins Pride colossal stands unshaken to the
Endurance, resolution to the last.)
8 Now trumpeter for thy close, Vouchsafe a higher strain than any yet, Sing to my soul, renew its languishing faith and hope, Rouse up my slow belief, give me some vision of the
future, Give me for once its prophecy and joy. O glad, exulting, culminating song ! A vigor more than earth’s is in thy notes, Marches of victory — man disenthrald — the conqueror at
last, Hymns to the universal God from universal man — all
joy! A reborn race appears — a perfect world, all joy! Women and men in wisdom innocence and health — all
Riotous laughing bacchanals fill?d with joy!
nothing but joy left ? The ocean filld with joy - the atmosphere all joy! Joy ! joy! in freedom, worship, love! joy in the ecstasy of
life! Enough to merely be! enough to breathe ! Joy! joy ! all over joy !
TO A LOCOMOTIVE IN WINTER
winter-day declining, Thee in thy panoply, thy measur’d dual throbbing and thy
beat convulsive, Thy black cylindric body, golden brass and silvery steel, Thy ponderous side-bars, parallel and connecting rods,
gyrating, shuttling at thy sides, Thy metrical, now swelling pant and roar, now tapering
in the distance, Thy great protruding head-light fix'd in front, Thy long, pale, floating vapor-pennants, tinged with deli
cate purple, The dense and murky clouds out-belching from thy smoke
stack, Thy knitted frame, thy springs and valves, the tremulous
twinkle of thy wheels, Thy train of cars behind, obedient, merrily following, Through gale or calm, now swift, now slack, yet steadily
careering; Type of the modern — emblem of motion and power
pulse of the continent, For once come.serve the Muse and merge in verse, even
as here I see thee, With storm and buffeting gusts of wind and falling snow, By day thy warning ringing bell to sound its notes, By night thy silent signal lamps to swing.
Fierce-throated beauty !
swinging lamps at night, Thy madly-whistled laughter, echoing, rumbling like an
earthquake, rousing all, Law of thyself complete, thine own track firmly holding, (No sweetness debonair of tearful harp or glib piano thine,) Thy trills of shrieks by rocks and hills return’d, Launch'd o'er the prairies wide, across the lakes, To the free skies unpent and glad and strong.
lined with bloody death, For the prize I see at issue at last is the world, All its ships and shores I see interwoven with your threads
greedy banner; Dream'd again the flags of kings, highest borne, to flaunt
unrivall’d? O hasten flag of man
O with sure and steady step, passing highest flags of kings, Walk supreme to the heavens mighty symbol — run up
above them all, Flag of stars ! thick-sprinkled bunting !
WHAT BEST I SEE IN THEE
To U. S. G. return'd from his World's Tour. What best I see in thee, Is not that where thou mov’st down history's great high
ways, Ever undimm’d by time shoots warlike victory's dazzle, Or that thou sat’st where Washington sat, ruling the land
in peace, Or thou the man whom feudal Europe feted, venerable
Asia swarm'd upon, Who walk'd with kings with even pace the round world's
But that in foreign lands, in all thy walks with kings, Those prairie sovereigns of the West, Kansas, Missouri,
Illinois, Ohio's, Indiana's millions, comrades, farmers, soldiers, all
to the front, Invisibly with thee walking with kings with even pace the
round world's promenade, Were all so justified.
A CLEAR MIDNIGHT
lesson done, Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the
themes thou lovest best, Night, sleep, death and the stars.
YEARS OF THE MODERN
dramas, I see not America only, not only Liberty's nation but
other nations preparing, I see tremendous entrances and exits, new combinations,
the solidarity of races, I see that force advancing with irresistible power on the
world's stage, (Have the old forces, the old wars, played their parts ? are
the acts suitable to them closed ?) I see Freedom, completely arm’d and victorious and very
haughty, with Law on one side and Peace on the other, A stupendous trio all issuing forth against the idea of
caste; What historic denouements are these we so rapidly ap
I see men marching and countermarching by swift mill
ions, I see the frontiers and boundaries of the old aristocracies
broken, I see the landmarks of European kings removed, I see this day the People beginning their landmarks, (all
others give way ;) Never were such sharp questions ask'd as this day, Never was average man, his soul, more energetic, more
like a God, Lo, how he urges and urges, leaving the masses no rest ! His daring foot is on land and sea everywhere, he colon
izes the Pacific, the archipelagoes, With the steamship, the electric telegraph, the newspaper,
the wholesale engines of war, With these and the world-spreading factories he interlinks
all geography, all lands; What whispers are these Olands, running ahead of you,
passing under the seas? Are all nations communing ? is there going to be but one
heart to the globe ? Is humanity forming en-masse ? for lo, tyrants tremble,
crowns grow dim, The earth restive, confronts a new era, perhaps a general
No one knows what will happen next, such portents fill
the days and nights ; Years prophetical ! the space ahead as I walk, as I vainly
try to pierce it, is full of phantoms, Unborn deeds, things soon to be, project their shapes
This incredible rush and heat, this strange ecstatic fever of
dreams 0 years ! Your dreams o years, how they penetrate through me!
(I know not whether I sleep or wake ;) The perform’d America and Europe grow dim, retiring in
shadow behind me, The unperform’d, more gigantic than ever, advance, ad
vance upon me.