Page images

I MET a seer,
Passing the hues and objects of the world,
The fields of art and learning, pleasure, sense,

To glean eidolons.

Put in thy chants said he, No more the puzzling hour nor day, nor segments, parts, put in, Put first before the rest as light for all and entrance-song of all,

That of eidolons.

Ever the dim beginning,
Ever the growth, the rounding of the circle,
Ever the summit and the merge at last, (to surely start again,)

Eidolons ! eidolons !

Ever the mutable,
Ever materials, changing, crumbling, re-cohering,
Ever the ateliers, the factories divine,

Issuing eidblons.

Lo, I or you,
Or woman, man, or state, known or unknown,
We seeming solid wealth, strength, beauty build,

But really build eidolons.

The ostent evanescent,
The substance of an artist's mood or savan's studies long,
Or warrior's, martyr's, hero's toils,

To fashion his eidolon.

Of every human life, (The units gather'd, posted, not a thought, emotion, deed, left out) The whole or large or small summ'd, added up,

In its eidólon.

The old, old urge,
Based on the ancient pinnacles, lo, newer, higher pinnacles,
From science and the modern still impellid,

The old, old urge, eidolons.

The present now and here,
America's busy, teeming, intricate whirl,
Of aggregate and segregate for only thence releasing,

To-day's eidolons.

These with the past,
Of vanish'd lands, of all the reigns of kings across the sea,
Old conquerors, old campaigns, old sailors' voyages,

Joining eidolons.

Densities, growth, façades,
Strata of mountains, soils, rocks, giant trees,
Far-born, far-dying, living long, to leave,

Eidolons everlasting.

Exaltè, rapt, ecstatic,
The visible but their womb of birth,
Of orbic tendencies to shape and shape and shape,

The mighty earth-eidólon.

All space, all time, (The stars, the terrible perturbations of the suns, Swelling, collapsing, ending, serving their longer, shorter use,)

Fill'd with eidolons only.

The noiseless myriads,
The infinite oceans where the rivers empty,
The separate countless free identities, like eyesight,

The true realities, eidolons.

Not this the world,
Nor these the universes, they the universes,
Purport and end, ever the permanent life of life,

Eidolons, eidolons.

Beyond thy lectures learn'd professor, Beyond thy telescope or spectroscope observer keen, beyond all

mathematics, Beyond the doctor's surgery, anatomy, beyond the chemist with

his chemistry,
The entities of entities, eidolons.

Unfix'd yet fix'd,
Ever shall be, ever have been and are,
Sweeping the present to the infinite future,

Eidolons, eidolons, eidolons.

The prophet and the bard, Shall yet maintain themselves, in higher stages yet, Shall mediate to the Modern, to Democracy, interpret yet to them,

God and eidolons.

And thee my soul,
Joys, ceaseless exercises, exaltations,
Thy yearning amply fed at last, prepared to meet,

Thy mates, eidolons.

Thy body permanent,
The body lurking there within thy body,
The only purport of the form thou art, the real I myself,

An image, an eidólon.

Thy very songs not in thy songs, No special strains to sing, none for itself

, But from the whole resulting, rising at last and Aoating,

A round full-orb'd eidólon.

FOR HIM I SING. FOR him I sing, I raise the present on the past, (As some perennial tree out of its roots, the present on the past,) With time and space I him dilate and fuse the immortal laws, To make himself by them the law unto himself.

WHEN I READ THE BOOK. WHEN I read the book, the biography famous, And is this then (said I) what the author calls a man's life? And so will some one when I am dead and gone write my life? (As if any man really knew aught of my life, Why even I myself I often think know little or nothing of my real

life, Only a few hints, a few diffused faint clews and indirections I seek for my own use to trace out here.)

BEGINNING MY STUDIES. BEGINNING my studies the first step pleas'd me so much, The mere fact consciousness, these forms, the power of motion, The least insect or animal, the senses, eyesight, love, The first step I say awed me and pleas'd me so much, I have hardly gone and hardly wish'd to go any farther, But stop and loiter all the time to sing it in ecstatic songs.


How they are provided for upon the earth, (appearing at inter

vals,) How dear and dreadful they are to the earth, How they inure to themselves as much as to any — what a paradox

appears their age, How people respond to them, yet know them not, How there is something relentless in their fate all times, How all times mischoose the objects of their adulation and re

ward, And how the same inexorable price must still be paid for the same

great purchase.


To the States or any one of them, or any city of the States, Resist

much, obey little, Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved, Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city of this earth, ever after

ward resumes its liberty.

ON JOURNEYS THROUGH THE STATES. ON journeys through the States we start, (Ay through the world, urged by these songs, Sailing henceforth to every land, to every sea,) We willing learners of all, teachers of all, and lovers of all. We have watch'd the seasons dispensing themselves and passing

on, And have said, Why should not a man or woman do as much as

the seasons, and effuse as much?

We dwell a while in every city and town,
We pass through Kanada, the North-east, the vast valley of the

Mississippi, and the Southern States,
We confer on equal terms with each of the States,
We make trial of ourselves and invite men and women to hear,
We say to ourselves, Remember, fear not, be candid, promulge the

body and the soul, Dwell a while and pass on, be copious, temperate, chaste, mag

netic, And what you effuse may then return as the seasons return, And may be just as much as the seasons.

TO A CERTAIN CANTATRICE. HERE, take this gift, I was reserving it for some hero, speaker, or general, One who should serve the good old cause, the great idea, the prog.

ress and freedom of the race, Some brave confronter of despots, some daring rebel ; But I see that what I was reserving belongs to you just as much as to any.

ME IMPERTURBE. ME imperturbe, standing at ease in Nature, Master of all or mistress of all, aplomb in the midst of irrational

things, Imbued as they, passive, receptive, silent as they, Finding my occupation, poverty, notoriety, foibles, crimes, less im

portant than I thought, Me toward the Mexican sea, or in the Mannahatta or the Tennes

see, or far north or inland, A river man, or a man of the woods or of any farm-life of these

States or of the coast, or the lakes or Kanada, Me wherever my life is lived, 0 to be self-balanced for contingen


To confront night, storms, hunger, ridicule, accidents, rebuffs, as

the trees and animals do.

SAVANTISM. THITHER as I look I see each result and glory retracing itself and

nestling close, always obligated, Thither hours, months, years — thither trades, compacts, establish

ments, even the most minute, Thither every-day life, speech, utensils, politics, persons, estates; Thither we also, I with my leaves and songs, trustful, admirant, As a father to his father going takes his children along with him.

THE SHIP STARTING. Lo, the unlounded sea, On its breast a ship starting, spreading all sails, carrying even her

moonsails, The pennant is flying aloft as she speeds she speeds so stately –

below emulous waves press forward, They surround the ship with shining curving motions and foam.

« PreviousContinue »