Song of the Exposition
3 Responsive to our summons, Or rather to her long-nurs'd inclination, Join'd with an irresistible, natural gravitation, She comes! I hear the rustling of her gown, I scent the odor of her breath's delicious fragrance, I mark her step divine, her curious eyes a-turning, rolling, Upon this very scene. The dame of dames! can I believe then, Those ancient temples, sculptures classic, could none of them retain her? Nor shades of Virgil and Dante, nor myriad memories, poems, old associations, magnetize and hold on to her? But that she's left them all—and here? Yes, if you will allow me to say so, I, my friends, if you do not, can plainly see her, The same undying soul of earth's, activity's, beauty's, heroism's expression, Out from her evolutions hither come, ended the strata of her former themes, Hidden and cover'd by to-day's, foundation of to-day's, Ended, deceas'd through time, her voice by Castaly's fountain, Silent the broken-lipp'd Sphynx in Egypt, silent all those century- baffling tombs, Ended for aye the epics of Asia's, Europe's helmeted warriors, ended the primitive call of the muses, Calliope's call forever closed, Clio, Melpomene, Thalia dead, Ended the stately rhythmus of Una and Oriana, ended the quest of the holy Graal, Jerusalem a handful of ashes blown by the wind, extinct, The Crusaders' streams of shadowy midnight troops sped with the sunrise, Amadis, Tancred, utterly gone, Charlemagne, Roland, Oliver gone, Palmerin, ogre, departed, vanish'd the turrets that Usk from its waters reflected, Arthur vanish'd with all his knights, Merlin and Lancelot and Galahad, all gone, dissolv'd utterly like an exhalation; Pass'd! pass'd! for us, forever pass'd, that once so mighty world, now void, inanimate, phantom world, Embroider'd, dazzling, foreign world, with all its gorgeous legends, myths, Its kings and castles proud, its priests and warlike lords and courtly dames, Pass'd to its charnel vault, coffin'd with crown and armor on, Blazon'd with Shakspere's purple page, And dirged by Tennyson's sweet sad rhyme. I say I see, my friends, if you do not, the illustrious emigre, (having it is true in her day, although the same, changed, journey'd considerable,) Making directly for this rendezvous, vigorously clearing a path for herself, striding through the confusion, By thud of machinery and shrill steam-whistle undismay'd, Bluff'd not a bit by drain-pipe, gasometers, artificial fertilizers, Smiling and pleas'd with palpable intent to stay, She's here, install'd amid the kitchen ware!
Posted on 10/10/2014, in literature, poetry and tagged 19th Century Poetry, American literature, American poets, Daily Whitman, free verse, Leaves of Grass, literature, poems, poetry, Transcendentalists, Walt Whitman. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.