One's-self I sing, a simple separate person, Yet utter the word Democratic, the word En-Masse. …The Female equally with the Male I sing. Of Life immense in passion, pulse, and power, Cheerful, for freest action form'd under the laws divine, The Modern Man I sing. .
I too haughty Shade also sing war, and a longer and greater one than any, Waged in my book with varying fortune, with flight, advance and retreat, victory deferr'd and wavering, (Yet methinks certain, or as good as certain, at the last,) the field the world,For life and death, for the Body and for the eternal Soul, Lo, I too am come, chanting the chant of battles, I above all promote brave soldiers. .
Then falter not O book, fulfil your destiny, You not a reminiscence of the land alone, You too as a lone bark cleaving the ether, purpos'd I know not whither, yet ever full of faith, Consort to every ship that sails, sail you! Bear forth to them folded my love, (dear mariners, for you I fold it here in every leaf;) Speed on my book! spread your white sails my little bark athwart the imperious waves, Chant on, sail on, bear o'er the boundless blue from me to every sea, This song for mariners and all their ships. .
To thee old cause! Thou peerless, passionate, good cause, Thou stern, remorseless, sweet idea, Deathless throughout the ages, races, lands, After a strange sad war, great war for thee, (I think all war through time was really fought, and ever will be really fought, for thee,) These chants for thee, the eternal march of thee. .
I met a seer, Passing the hues and objects of the world, The fields of art and learning, pleasure, sense, To glean . 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. .
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. .
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 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 intervals,)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 reward, And how the same inexorable price must still be paid for the same great purchase. .
Shut not your doors to me proud libraries, For that which was lacking on all your well-fill'd shelves, yet needed most, I bring, Forth from the war emerging, a book I have made, The words of my book nothing, the drift of it every thing, A book separate, not link'd with the rest nor felt by the intellect, But you ye untold latencies will thrill to every page. .
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 darkness.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. .
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books,You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me, You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self. (2) .
Knowing the perfect fitness and equanimity of things, while they discuss I am silent, and go bathe and admire myself.Welcome is every organ and attribute of me, and of any man hearty and clean, Not an inch nor a particle of an inch is vile, and none shall be less familiar than the rest. (3) .
Swiftly arose and spread around me the peace and knowledge that pass all the argument of the earth, And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own, And I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own, And that all the men ever born are also my brothers, and the women my sisters and lovers, And that a kelson of the creation is love, And limitless are leaves stiff or drooping in the fields, And brown ants in the little wells beneath them, And mossy scabs of the worm fence, heap'd stones, elder, mullein and poke-weed. (5) .
A child said What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands; How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he. I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven. … And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves. … What do you think has become of the young and old men? And what do you think has become of the women and children? They are alive and well somewhere, The smallest sprout shows there is really no death, And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it, And ceas'd the moment life appear'd.All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses, And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier. (6) .
Has any one supposed it lucky to be born? I hasten to inform him or her it is just as lucky to die, and I know it.I pass death with the dying and birth with the new-wash'd babe, and am not contain'd between my hat and boots, And peruse manifold objects, no two alike and every one good, The earth good and the stars good, and their adjuncts all good. I am not an earth nor an adjunct of an earth,I am the mate and companion of people, all just as immortal and fathomless as myself, (They do not know how immortal, but I know.) (7) .
What is commonest, cheapest, nearest, easiest, is Me, Me going in for my chances, spending for vast returns, Adorning myself to bestow myself on the first that will take me, Not asking the sky to come down to my good will, Scattering it freely forever. (14) .
The city sleeps and the country sleeps, The living sleep for their time, the dead sleep for their time, The old husband sleeps by his wife and the young husband sleeps by his wife; And these tend inward to me, and I tend outward to them, And such as it is to be of these more or less I am, And of these one and all I weave the song of myself. (15) .
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