« PreviousContinue »
I see Egypt and the Egyptians, I see the pyramids and obelisks,
cut in slabs of sand-stone, or on granite-blocks, I see at Memphis mummy-pits containing mummies embalm'd,
swathed in linen cloth, lying there many centuries, I look on the fallin Theban, the large-ball'd eyes, the side-drooping
neck, the hands folded across the breast. I see all the menials of the earth, laboring, I see all the prisoners in the prisons, I see the defective human bodies of the earth, The blind, the deaf and dumb, idiots, hunchbacks, lunatics, The pirates, thieves, betrayers, murderers, slave-makers of the earth, The helpless infants, and the helpless old men and women.
I see male and female everywhere,
You whoever you are !
headed, nobly-form'd, superbly destin'd, on equal terms
with me! You Norwegian ! Swede! Dane ! Icelander ! you Prussian ! You Spaniard of Spain ! you Portuguese! You Frenchwoman and Frenchman of France ! You Belge ! you liberty-lover of the Netherlands ! (you stock
whence I myself have descended ;) You sturdy Austrian ! you Lombard ! Hun! Bohemian ! farmer of
Styria ! You neighbor of the Danube ! You working-man of the Rhine, the Elbe, or the Weser! you
working-woman too! You Sardinian ! you Bavarian ! Swabian ! Saxon! Wallachian!
You Bokh horse-herd watching your mares and stallions feeding ! You beautiful-bodied Persian at full speed in the saddle shooting
arrows to the mark ! You Chinaman and Chinawoman of China ! you Tartar of Tartary ! You women of the earth subordinated at your tasks ! You Jew journeying in your old age through every risk to stand
once on Syrian ground ! You other Jews waiting in all lands for your Messiah ! You thoughtful Armenian pondering by some stream of the Eu
phrates ! you peering amid the ruins of Nineveh! you
ascending mount Ararat ! You foot-worn pilgrim welcoming the far-away sparkle of the
minarets of Mecca ! You sheiks along the stretch from Suez to Bab-el-mandeb ruling
your families and tribes ! You olive-grower tending your fruit on fields of Nazareth, Damas
cus, or lake Tiberias ! You Thibet trader on the wide inland or bargaining in the shops
of Lassa! You Japanese man or woman ! you liver in Madagascar, Ceylon,
Sumatra, Borneo ! All you continentals of Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia, indifferent
of place! All you on the numberless islands of the archipelagoes of the sea ! And you of centuries hence when you listen to me ! And you each and everywhere whom I specify not, but include
just the same ! Health to you! good will to you all, from me and America sent! Each of us inevitable, Each of us limitless — each of us with his or her right upon the
earth, Each of us allow'd the eternal purports of the earth, Each of us here as divinely as any is here.
You Hottentot with clicking palate ! you woolly-hair'd hordes !
nances of brutes ! You poor koboo whom the meanest of the rest look down upon
for all your glimmering language and spirituality! You dwarf'd Kamtschatkan, Greenlander, Lapp! You Austral negro, naked, red, sooty, with protrusive lip, groveling,
You Caffre, Berber, Soudanese !
man! I do not prefer others so very much before you either, I do not say one word against you, away back there where you
stand, (You will come forward in due time to my side.)
My spirit has pass'd in compassion and determination around the
whole earth, I have look'd for equals and lovers and found them ready for me
in all lands, I think some divine rapport has equalized me with them. You vapors, I think I have risen with you, moved away to distant
continents, and fallen down there, for reasons, I think I have blown with you you winds ; You waters I have finger'd every shore with you, I have run through what any river or strait of the globe has run
through, I have taken my stand on the bases of peninsulas and on the high
embedded rocks, to cry thence : Salut au monde ! What cities the light or warmth penetrates I penetrate those cities
myself, All islands to which birds wing their way I wing my way myself. Toward you all, in America's name, I raise high the perpendicular hand, I make the signal, To remain after me in sight forever, For all the haunts and homes of men.
SONG OF THE OPEN ROAD.
FOOT and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me, The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
The earth, that is sufficient,
(Still here I carry my old delicious burdens,
You road I enter upon and look around, I believe you are not all
that is here, I believe that much unseen is also here.
Here the profound lesson of reception, nor preference nor denial, The black with his woolly head, the felon, the diseas'd, the illiterate
person, are not denied ; The birth, the hasting after the physician, the beggar's tramp, the
drunkard's stagger, the laughing party of mechanics, The escaped youth, the rich person's carriage, the fop, the eloping
couple, The early market-man, the hearse, the moving of furniture into the
town, the return back from the town, They pass, I also pass, any thing passes, none can be interdicted, None but are accepted, none but shall be dear to me.
3 You air that serves me with breath to speak ! You objects that call from diffusion my meanings and give them
shape! You light that wraps me and all things in delicate equable show You paths worn in the irregular hollows by the roadsides ! I believe you are latent with unseen existences, you are so dear
You flagg'd walks of the cities ! you strong curbs at the edges ! You ferries ! you planks and posts of wharves ! you timber-lined
sides ! you distant ships !
You rows of houses ! you window-pierc'd façades ! you roofs !
yourselves, and now would impart the same secretly to me, From the living and the dead you have peopled your impassive
surfaces, and the spirits thereof would be evident and amicable with me.
4 The earth expanding right hand and left hand, The picture alive, every part in its best light, The music falling in where it is wanted, and stopping where it is
not wanted, The cheerful voice of the public road, the gay fresh sentiment of
O highway I travel, do you say to me Do not leave me ?
denied, adhere to me? O public road, I say back I am not afraid to leave you, yet I love
you, You express me better than I can express myself, You shall be more to me than my poem. I think heroic deeds were all conceiv'd in the open air, and all
free poems also, I think I could stop here myself and do miracles, I think whatever I shall meet on the road I shall like, and who
ever beholds me shall like me, I think whoever I see must be happy.
5 From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary
lines, Going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds
that would hold me.