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I HEAR AMERICA SINGING. I HEAR America singing, the varied carols I hear, Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe
and strong, The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam, The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off
work, The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deck
hand singing on the steamboat deck, The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing
as he stands, The wood-cutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in the morn
ing, or at noon intermission or at sundown, The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work,
or of the girl sewing or washing, Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else, The day what belongs to the day -- at night the party of young
fellows, robust, friendly, Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.
WHAT PLACE IS BESIEGED?
What place is besieged, and vainly tries to raise the siege ?
STILL THOUGH THE ONE I SING. STILL though the one I sing, (One, yet of contradictions made,) I dedicate to Nationality, I leave in him revolt, (O latent right of insurrection ! O quench
less, indispensable fire !
SHUT NOT YOUR DOORS.
SHUT not your doors to me proud libraries,
needed most, I bring,
POETS TO COME. Poets to come ! orators, singers, musicians to come! Not to-day is to justify me and answer what I am for, But you, a new brood, native, athletic, continental, greater than
before known, Arouse ! for you must justify me. I myself but write one or two indicative words for the future, I but advance a moment only to wheel and hurry back in the
I am a man who, sauntering along without fully stopping, turns a
casual look upon you and then averts his face, Leaving it to you to prove and define it, Expecting the main things from you.
TO YOU. STRANGER, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why
should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?
STARTING FROM PAUMANOK.
TARTING from fish-shape Paumanok where I was born,
Well-begotten, and rais'd by a perfect mother, After roaming many lands, lover of populous pavements, Dweller in Mannahatta my city, or on southern savannas, Or a soldier camp'd or carrying my knapsack and gun, or a miner
in California, Or rude in my home in Dakota's woods, my diet meat, my drink
from the spring, Or withdrawn to muse and meditate in some deep recess, Far from the clank of crowds intervals passing rapt and happy,
Aware of the fresh free giver the flowing Missouri, aware of mighty
Niagara, Aware of the buffalo herds grazing the plains, the hirsute and
strong-breasted bull, Of earth, rocks, Fifth-month flowers experienced, stars, rain, snow,
my amaze, Having studied the mocking-bird's tones and the flight of the
mountain-hawk, And heard at dawn the unrivallid one, the hermit thrush from the
swamp-cedars, Solitary, singing in the West, I strike up for a New World.
Victory, union, faith, identity, time,
This then is life,
How curious ! how real!
See revolving the globe,
See, vast trackless spaces,
See, projected through time,
With firm and regular step they wend, they never stop,
3 Americanos ! conquerors ! marches humanitarian ! Foremost ! century marches ! Libertad ! masses ! For you a programme of chants. Chants of the prairies, Chants of the long-running Mississippi, and down to the Mexican
sea, Chants of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota, Chants going forth from the centre from Kansas, and thence equi
distant, Shooting in pulses of fire ceaseless to vivify all.
4 Take my leaves America, take them South and take them North, Make welcome for them everywhere, for they are your own off
spring, Surround them East and West, for they would surround you, And you precedents, connect lovingly with them, for they connect
lovingly with you.
I conn'd old times,
In the name of these States shall I scorn the antique ?
5 Dead poets, philosophs, priests, Martyrs, artists, inventors, governments long since, language-shapers on other shores, Nations once powerful, now reduced, withdrawn, or desolate, I dare not proceed till I respectfully credit what you have left
wafted hither, I have perused it, own it is admirable, (moving awhile among it) Think nothing can ever be greater, nothing can ever deserve more
than it deserves, Regarding it all intently a long while, then dismissing it, I stand in my place with my own day here.
Here lands female and male,
Here spirituality the translatress, the openly-avow'd,
6 The soul, Forever and forever - longer than soil is brown and solid — longer
than water ebbs and flows. I will make the poems of materials, for I think they are to be the
most spiritual poems, And I will make the poems of my body and of mortality, For I think I shall then supply myself with the poems of my soul
and of immortality.
I will make a song for these States that no one State may under
any circumstances be subjected to another State, And I will make a song that there shall be comity by day and by
night between all the States, and between any two of them, And I will make a song for the ears of the President, full of weap
ons with menacing points, And behind the weapons countless dissatisfied faces; And a song make I of the One form'd out of all, The fang'd and glittering One whose head is over all, Resolute warlike One including and over all, (However high the head of any else that head is over all.) I will acknowledge contemporary lands, I will trail the whole geography of the globe and salute courte
ously every city large and small, And employments ! I will put in my poems that with you is hero
ism upon land and sea, And I will report all heroism from an American point of view.
I will sing the song of companionship,
cating it in me, I will therefore let flame from me the burning fires that were
threatening to consume me, I will lift what has too long kept down those smouldering fires, I will give them complete abandonment, I will write the evangel-poem of comrades and of love, For who but I should understand love with all its sorrow and joy? And who but I should be the poet of comrades?