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Looking in at the shop-windows of Broadway the whole forenoon,
fatting the flesh of my nose on the thick plate glass, Wandering the same afternoon with my face turn'd up to the
clouds, or down a lane or along the beach, My right and left arms round the sides of two friends, and I in the
middle; Coming home with the silent and dark-cheek'd bush-boy, (behind
me he rides at the drape of the day,) Far from the settlements studying the print of animals' feet, or
the moccasin print, By the cot in the hospital reaching lemonade to a feverish patient, Nigh the coffin'd corpse when all is still
, examining with a candle Voyaging to every port to dicker and adventure, Hurrying with the modern crowd as eager and fickle as any, Hot toward one I hate, ready in my madness to knife him, Solitary at midnight in my back yard, my thoughts gone from me
a long while, Walking the old hills of Judæa with the beautiful gentle God by
my side, Speeding through space, speeding through heaven and the stars, Speeding amid the seven satellites and the broad ring, and the
diameter of eighty thousand miles, Speeding with tail'd meteors, throwing fire-balls like the rest, Carrying the crescent child that carries its own full mother in
I visit the orchards of spheres and look at the product,
I fly those flights of a fluid and swallowing soul,
I help myself to material and immaterial,
I go hunting polar furs and the seal, leaping chasms with a pike
pointed staff, clinging to topples of brittle and blue.
I ascend to the foretruck,
I take my place late at night in the crow's-nest,
beauty, The enormous masses of ice pass me and I pass them, the scenery
is plain in all directions, The white-topt mountains show in the distance, I Aling out my
fancies toward them, We are approaching some great battle-field in which we are soon
to be engaged, We pass the colossal outposts of the encampment, we pass with
still feet and caution, Or we are entering by the suburbs some vast and ruin'd city, The blocks and fallen architecture more than all the living cities
of the globe.
I am a free companion, I bivouac by invading watchfires,
My voice is the wife's voice, the screech by the rail of the stairs, They fetch my man's body up dripping and drown'd.
I understand the large hearts of heroes,
steam-ship, and Death chasing it up and down the storm, How he knuckled tight and gave not back an inch, and was faith
ful of days and faithful of nights, And chalk'd in large letters on a board, Be of good cheer, we will
not desert you ; How he follow'd with them and tack'd with them three days and
would not give it up, How he saved the drifting company at last, How the lank loose-gown'd women look'd when boated from the
side of their prepared graves, How the silent old-faced infants and the lifted sick, and the sharp
lipp'd unshaved men; All this I swallow, it tastes good, I like it well, it becomes mine, I am the man, I suffer’d, I was there. The disdain and calmness of martyrs, The mother of old, condemn'd for a witch, burnt with dry wood,
her children gazing on, The hounded slave that flags in the race, leans by the fence, blow
ing, cover'd with sweat,
The twinges that sting like needles his legs and neck, the mur
derous buckshot and the bullets, All these I feel or am. I am the hounded slave, I wince at the bite of the dogs, Hell and despair are upon me, crack and again crack the marks
men, I clutch the rails of the fence, my gore dribs, thinn'd with the
ooze of my skin, I fall on the weeds and stones, The riders spur their unwilling horses, haul close, Taunt my dizzy ears and beat me violently over the head with
Agonies are one of my changes of garments,
the wounded person,
rades, I heard the distant click of their picks and shovels, They have clear'd the beams away, they tenderly lift me forth. I lie in the night air in my red shirt, the pervading hush is for my
sake, Painless after all I lie exhausted but not so unhappy, White and beautiful are the faces around me, the heads are bared
of their fire-caps, The kneeling crowd fades with the light of the torches.
Distant and dead resuscitate,
I am an old artillerist, I tell of my fort's bombardment,
Again the long roll of the drummers,
I take part, I see and hear the whole,
The cries, curses, roar, the plaudits for well-aim'd shots,
sion, The whizz of limbs, heads, stone, wood, iron, high in the air. Again gurgles the mouth of my dying general, he furiously waves
with his hand, He gasps through the clot Mind not me mind the entrenci.
34 Now I tell what I knew in Texas in my early youth, (I tell not the fall of Alamo, Not one escaped to tell the fall of Alamo, The hundred and fifty are dumb yet at Alamo,) 'Tis the tale of the murder in cold blood of four hundred and
twelve young men. Retreating they had form'd in a hollow square with their baggage
for breastworks, Nine hundred lives out of the surrounding enemies, nine times
their number, was the price they took in advance, Their colonel was wounded and their ammunition gone, They treated for an honorable capitulation, receiv'd writing and
seal, gave up their arms and march'd back prisoners of war. They were the glory of the race of rangers, Matchless with horse, rifle, song, supper, courtship, Large, turbulent, generous, handsome, proud, and affectionate, Bearded, sunburnt, drest in the free costume of hunters, Not a single one over thirty years of age.
The second First-day morning they were brought out in squads
and massacred, it was beautiful early summer, The work commenced about five o'clock and was over by eight.
None obey'd the command to kneel,
straight, A few fell at once, shot in the temple or heart, the living and dead
lay together, The maim'd and mangled dug in the dirt, the new-comers saw
Some half-kill'd attempted to crawl away,
of muskets, A youth not seventeen years old seiz'd his assassin till two more
came to release him, The three were all torn and cover'd with the boy's blood. At eleven o'clock began the burning of the bodies ; That is the tale of the murder of the four hundred and twelve
35 Would you hear of an old-time sea-fight? Would you learn who won by the light of the moon and stars? List to the yarn, as my grandmother's father the sailor told it to me.
Our foe was no skulk in his ship I tell you, (said he,)
and never was, and never will be ;
We had receiv'd some eighteen pound shots under the water,
killing all around and blowing up overhead.
Fighting at sun-down, fighting at dark,
and five feet of water reported, The master-at-arms loosing the prisoners confined in the after-hold
to give them a chance for themselves.
The transit to and from the magazine is now stopt by the sentinels, They see so many strange faces they do not know whom to trust.
Our frigate takes fire,
Now I laugh content, for I hear the voice of my little captain, We have not struck, he composedly cries, we have just begun wir
part of the fighting: