Monthly Archives: August 2015
To conclude, I announce what comes after me. I remember I said before my leaves sprang at all, I would raise my voice jocund and strong with reference to consummations. When America does what was promis'd, When through these States walk a hundred millions of superb persons, When the rest part away for superb persons and contribute to them, When breeds of the most perfect mothers denote America, Then to me and mine our due fruition. I have press'd through in my own right, I have sung the body and the soul, war and peace have I sung, and the songs of life and death, And the songs of birth, and shown that there are many births. I have offer'd my style to every one, I have journey'd with confident step; While my pleasure is yet at the full I whisper So long! And take the young woman's hand and the young man's hand for the last time. I announce natural persons to arise, I announce justice triumphant, I announce uncompromising liberty and equality, I announce the justification of candor and the justification of pride. I announce that the identity of these States is a single identity only, I announce the Union more and more compact, indissoluble, I announce splendors and majesties to make all the previous politics of the earth insignificant. I announce adhesiveness, I say it shall be limitless, unloosen'd, I say you shall yet find the friend you were looking for. I announce a man or woman coming, perhaps you are the one, (So long!) I announce the great individual, fluid as Nature, chaste, affectionate, compassionate, fully arm'd. I announce a life that shall be copious, vehement, spiritual, bold, I announce an end that shall lightly and joyfully meet its translation. I announce myriads of youths, beautiful, gigantic, sweet-blooded, I announce a race of splendid and savage old men. O thicker and faster—(So long!) O crowding too close upon me, I foresee too much, it means more than I thought, It appears to me I am dying. Hasten throat and sound your last, Salute me—salute the days once more. Peal the old cry once more. Screaming electric, the atmosphere using, At random glancing, each as I notice absorbing, Swiftly on, but a little while alighting, Curious envelop'd messages delivering, Sparkles hot, seed ethereal down in the dirt dropping, Myself unknowing, my commission obeying, to question it never daring, To ages and ages yet the growth of the seed leaving, To troops out of the war arising, they the tasks I have set promulging, To women certain whispers of myself bequeathing, their affection me more clearly explaining, To young men my problems offering—no dallier I—I the muscle of their brains trying, So I pass, a little time vocal, visible, contrary, Afterward a melodious echo, passionately bent for, (death making me really undying,) The best of me then when no longer visible, for toward that I have been incessantly preparing. What is there more, that I lag and pause and crouch extended with unshut mouth? Is there a single final farewell? My songs cease, I abandon them, From behind the screen where I hid I advance personally solely to you. Camerado, this is no book, Who touches this touches a man, (Is it night? are we here together alone?) It is I you hold and who holds you, I spring from the pages into your arms—decease calls me forth. O how your fingers drowse me, Your breath falls around me like dew, your pulse lulls the tympans of my ears, I feel immerged from head to foot, Delicious, enough. Enough O deed impromptu and secret, Enough O gliding present—enough O summ'd-up past. Dear friend whoever you are take this kiss, I give it especially to you, do not forget me, I feel like one who has done work for the day to retire awhile, I receive now again of my many translations, from my avataras ascending, while others doubtless await me, An unknown sphere more real than I dream'd, more direct, darts awakening rays about me, So long! Remember my words, I may again return, I love you, I depart from materials, I am as one disembodied, triumphant, dead.
Now Finale to the Shore
Now finale to the shore, Now land and life finale and farewell, Now Voyager depart, (much, much for thee is yet in store,) Often enough hast thou adventur'd o'er the seas, Cautiously cruising, studying the charts, Duly again to port and hawser's tie returning; But now obey thy cherish'd secret wish, Embrace thy friends, leave all in order, To port and hawser's tie no more returning, Depart upon thy endless cruise old Sailor.
I read, I study, I examine, I listen, I reflect, and out of all of this I try to form an idea into which I put as much common sense as I can. I shall not speak much for fear of saying foolish things; I will risk still less for fear of doing them, for I am not disposed to abuse the confidence which they have deigned to show me. Such is the conduct which until now I have followed and will follow.
–Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, Letter to his father-in-law, the Duc d’Ayan (4 December 1776), as quoted in George Washington’s Generals and Opponents : Their Exploits and Leadership (1994) by George Athan Billias, p. 219; courtesy of Wikiquote.
As They Draw to a Close
As they draw to a close, Of what underlies the precedent songs—of my aims in them, Of the seed I have sought to plant in them, Of joy, sweet joy, through many a year, in them, (For them, for them have I lived, in them my work is done,) Of many an aspiration fond, of many a dream and plan; Through Space and Time fused in a chant, and the flowing eternal identity, To Nature encompassing these, encompassing God—to the joyous, electric all, To the sense of Death, and accepting exulting in Death in its turn the same as life, The entrance of man to sing; To compact you, ye parted, diverse lives, To put rapport the mountains and rocks and streams, And the winds of the north, and the forests of oak and pine, With you O soul.
The Sobbing of the Bells [Midnight, Sept. 19-20, 1881]
The sobbing of the bells, the sudden death-news everywhere, The slumberers rouse, the rapport of the People, (Full well they know that message in the darkness, Full well return, respond within their breasts, their brains, the sad reverberations,) The passionate toll and clang—city to city, joining, sounding, passing, Those heart-beats of a Nation in the night.