Song of the Exposition
7 Away with themes of war! away with war itself! Hence from my shuddering sight to never more return that show of blacken'd, mutilated corpses! That hell unpent and raid of blood, fit for wild tigers or for lop-tongued wolves, not reasoning men, And in its stead speed industry's campaigns, With thy undaunted armies, engineering, Thy pennants labor, loosen'd to the breeze, Thy bugles sounding loud and clear. Away with old romance! Away with novels, plots and plays of foreign courts, Away with love-verses sugar'd in rhyme, the intrigues, amours of idlers, Fitted for only banquets of the night where dancers to late music slide, The unhealthy pleasures, extravagant dissipations of the few, With perfumes, heat and wine, beneath the dazzling chandeliers. To you ye reverent sane sisters, I raise a voice for far superber themes for poets and for art, To exalt the present and the real, To teach the average man the glory of his daily walk and trade, To sing in songs how exercise and chemical life are never to be baffled, To manual work for each and all, to plough, hoe, dig, To plant and tend the tree, the berry, vegetables, flowers, For every man to see to it that he really do something, for every woman too; To use the hammer and the saw, (rip, or cross-cut,) To cultivate a turn for carpentering, plastering, painting, To work as tailor, tailoress, nurse, hostler, porter, To invent a little, something ingenious, to aid the washing, cooking, cleaning, And hold it no disgrace to take a hand at them themselves. I say I bring thee Muse to-day and here, All occupations, duties broad and close, Toil, healthy toil and sweat, endless, without cessation, The old, old practical burdens, interests, joys, The family, parentage, childhood, husband and wife, The house-comforts, the house itself and all its belongings, Food and its preservation, chemistry applied to it, Whatever forms the average, strong, complete, sweet-blooded man or woman, the perfect longeve personality, And helps its present life to health and happiness, and shapes its soul, For the eternal real life to come. With latest connections, works, the inter-transportation of the world, Steam-power, the great express lines, gas, petroleum, These triumphs of our time, the Atlantic's delicate cable, The Pacific railroad, the Suez canal, the Mont Cenis and Gothard and Hoosac tunnels, the Brooklyn bridge, This earth all spann'd with iron rails, with lines of steamships threading in every sea, Our own rondure, the current globe I bring.
Posted on 14/10/2014, 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.