A Broadway Pageant
2 Superb-faced Manhattan! Comrade Americanos! to us, then at last the Orient comes. To us, my city, Where our tall-topt marble and iron beauties range on opposite sides, to walk in the space between, To-day our Antipodes comes. The Originatress comes, The nest of languages, the bequeather of poems, the race of eld, Florid with blood, pensive, rapt with musings, hot with passion, Sultry with perfume, with ample and flowing garments, With sunburnt visage, with intense soul and glittering eyes, The race of Brahma comes. See my cantabile! these and more are flashing to us from the procession, As it moves changing, a kaleidoscope divine it moves changing before us.
For not the envoys nor the tann'd Japanee from his island only, Lithe and silent the Hindoo appears, the Asiatic continent itself appears, the past, the dead, The murky night-morning of wonder and fable inscrutable, The envelop'd mysteries, the old and unknown hive-bees, The north, the sweltering south, eastern Assyria, the Hebrews, the ancient of ancients, Vast desolated cities, the gliding present, all of these and more are in the pageant-procession. Geography, the world, is in it, The Great Sea, the brood of islands, Polynesia, the coast beyond, The coast you henceforth are facing—you Libertad! from your Western golden shores, The countries there with their populations, the millions en-masse are curiously here, The swarming market-places, the temples with idols ranged along the sides or at the end, bonze, brahmin, and llama, Mandarin, farmer, merchant, mechanic, and fisherman, The singing-girl and the dancing-girl, the ecstatic persons, the secluded emperors, Confucius himself, the great poets and heroes, the warriors, the castes, all, Trooping up, crowding from all directions, from the Altay mountains, From Thibet, from the four winding and far-flowing rivers of China, From the southern peninsulas and the demi-continental islands, from Malaysia, These and whatever belongs to them palpable show forth to me, and are seiz'd by me, And I am seiz'd by them, and friendlily held by them, Till as here them all I chant, Libertad! for themselves and for you. For I too raising my voice join the ranks of this pageant, I am the chanter, I chant aloud over the pageant, I chant the world on my Western sea, I chant copious the islands beyond, thick as stars in the sky, I chant the new empire grander than any before, as in a vision it comes to me, I chant America the mistress, I chant a greater supremacy, I chant projected a thousand blooming cities yet in time on those groups of sea-islands, My sail-ships and steam-ships threading the archipelagoes, My stars and stripes fluttering in the wind, Commerce opening, the sleep of ages having done its work, races reborn, refresh'd, Lives, works resumed—the object I know not—but the old, the Asiatic renew'd as it must be, Commencing from this day surrounded by the world.
Posted on 13/11/2014, 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.