I am the poet of the Body and I am the poet of the Soul, The pleasures of heaven are with me, and the pains of

hell are with me; The first I graft upon myself, the latter I translate into a

new tongue.

I am the poet of the woman the same as the man,
And I say it is as great to be a woman as to be a man,
And I say there is nothing greater than the mother of


I chant the chant of dilation or pride,
We have had ducking and deprecation about enough,
I show that size is only development.

Have you outstript the rest? are you the President ?
It is a trifle, they will more than arrive there, every one,

and still pass on. I am he that walks with the tender and growing night, I call to the earth and sea, half-held by the night,

Press close, bare-bosom'd night - press close, magnetic,

nourishing night! Night of South winds — night of the large, few stars!

Still, nodding night - mad, naked summer night.

Smile, O voluptuous, cool-breathed earth!
Earth of the slumbering and liquid trees!
Earth of departed sunset - earth of the mountains mis-

ty-topt !

Earth of the vitreous pour of the full moon just tinged

with blue ! Earth of shine and dark mottling the tide of the river ! Earth of the limpid gray of clouds brighter and clearer

for my sake!

Far-swooping, elbow'd earth- rich, apple-blossom'd

earth! Smile, for your lover comes. Prodigal, you have given me love — therefore to you I

give love! Oh, unspeakable, passionate love.


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Now, trumpeter! for thy close,
Vouchsafe a higher strain than any yet;
Sing to my soul! — renew its languishing faith and hope;
Rouse up my slow belief - give me some vision of the

Give me, for once, its prophecy and joy.
O glad, exulting, culminating song!
A vigor more than earth's is in thy notes !
Marches of victory – man disenthralled

the conqueror at last! Hymns to the universal God from universal Man - all

joy! A reborn race appears

a perfect world

all joy! Women and men in wisdom, innocence, and health all

joy! Riotous, laughing bacchanals, filled with joy! War, sorrowing, suffering gone — the rank earth purged

- nothing but joy left! The ocean filled with joy — the atmosphere all joy! Joy! joy! in freedom, worship, love! Joy in the ecstasy

of life! Enough to merely be! Enough to breathe ! Joy! joy ! all over joy!


Great is Life, real and mystical, wherever and whoever
Great is Death sure as Life holds all parts together,

Death holds all parts together;
Death has just as much purpose as Life has:
Do you enjoy what Life confers?
You shall enjoy what Death confers.

I do not understand the realities of Death, but I know

that they are great: I do not understand the least reality of Life — how then

can I understand the realities of Death ?


O Death!
Oh, the beautiful touch of Death, soothing and benumb-

ing a few moments, for reasons ! Oh, that of myself, discharging my excrementitious body,

to be burned, or reduced to powder, or buried, My real body doubtless left to me for other spheres, My voided body, nothing more to me, returning to the

purifications, further offices, eternal uses of the earth!


Whoever you are! you are he or she for whom the earth

is solid and liquid; You are he or she for whom the sun and the moon hang

in the sky; For none more than you are the present and the past; For none more than you is immortality! Each man to himself, and each woman to herself, is the

word of the past and present, and the word of im

mortality : No one can acquire for another - not one! No one can grow for another — not one !


I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanic singing his as it should be, blithe and

strong, The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam, The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat,

leaves off work,

the deck-hand singing on the steam-boat deck, The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hat

ter singing as he stands, The wood-cutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in

the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown, The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young

wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing, Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else, The day what belongs to the day - at night the party of

young fellows, robust, friendly, Singing with melodious mouths their strong, melodious



Far hence amid an isle of wondrous beauty,
Crouching over a grave an ancient, sorrowful mother,
Once a queen, now lean and tatter'd, seated on the

ground, Her old, white hair drooping, disheveld, round her

shoulders, At her feet, fallen, an unused royal harp, Long silent, she, too, long silent, mourning her shrouded

hope and heir, Of all the earth most full of sorrow because most full of


Yet a word, ancient mother,
You need crouch there no longer on the cold ground,

with forehead between your knees, Oh, you need not sit there veil'd in your old, white hair

so dishevel'd, For know you the one you mourn is not in that grave. It was an illusion, the son you love was not really dead, The Lord is not dead, He is risen again, young and

strong, in another country, What you wept for was translated, pass'd from the grave. The winds favor'd and the sea sail'd it, And now with rosy and new blood, Moves to-day in a new country.


Youth, large, lusty, loving - youth full of grace, force,

fascination, Do you know that Old Age may come after you with

equal grace, force, fascination ?

Day, full-blown and splendid - day of the immense sun

- action, ambition, laughter, The Night follows close with millions of suns, and sleep,

and restoring darkness.


Darest thou now, O soul,
Walk out with me toward the unknown region,
Where neither ground is for the feet nor any path to


No map there, nor guide,
Nor voice sounding, nor touch of human hand,
Nor face with blooming flesh, nor lips nor eyes are in

that land.


I know it not, O soul,
Nor dost thou — all is a blank before us,
All waits undream'd of in that region, that inaccessible


Till when the ties loosen,
All but the ties eternal, Time and Space,
Nor darkness, gravitation, sense, nor any bounds bound-

ing us.

Then we burst forth, we float,
In Time and Space, O soul, prepared for them,
Equal, equipt at last (O joy! O fruit of all!) them to

fulfil, O soul.

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