STARTING from fish-shape Paumanok, where I was born,
Well-begotten, and raisd by a perfect mother;
After roaming many landslover of populous pavements;
Dweller in Mannahatta, my cityor on southern savannas;
Or a soldier campd, or carrying my knapsack and gunor a miner in
Or rude in my home in Dakotas woods, my diet meat, my drink from the
Or withdrawn to muse and meditate in some deep recess,
Far from the clank of crowds, intervals passing, rapt and happy;
Aware of the fresh free giver, the flowing Missouriaware of mighty
Aware of the buffalo herds, grazing the plainsthe hirsute and
Of earth, rocks, Fifth-month flowers, experiencedstars, rain, snow, my
Having studied the mocking-birds tones, and the mountainhawks,
And heard at dusk the unrivald one, the hermit thrush from the
Solitary, singing in the West, I strike up for a New World.
2Victory, union, faith, identity, time,
The indissoluble compacts, riches, mystery,
Eternal progress, the kosmos, and the modern reports.
This, then, is life;
Here is what has come to the surface after so many throes and convulsions.
How curious! how real!
Underfoot the divine soiloverhead the sun.
See, revolving, the globe;
The ancestor-continents, away, groupd together;
The present and future continents, north and south, with the isthmus between.
See, vast, trackless spaces;
As in a dream, they change, they swiftly fill;
Countless masses debouch upon them;
They are now coverd with the foremost people, arts, institutions, known.
See, projected, through time,
For me, an audience interminable.
With firm and regular step they wendthey never stop,
Successions of men, Americanos, a hundred millions;
One generation playing its part, and passing on;
Another generation playing its part, and passing on in its turn,
With faces turnd sideways or backward towards me, to listen,
With eyes retrospective towards me,
3Americanos! conquerors! marches humanitarian;
Foremost! century marches! Libertad! masses!
For you a programme of chants.
Chants of the prairies;
Chants of the long-running Mississippi, and down to the Mexican sea;
Chants of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota;
Chants going forth from the centre, from Kansas, and thence, equi-distant,
Shooting in pulses of fire, ceaseless, to vivify all.
4In the Year 80 of The States,
My tongue, every atom of my blood, formd from this soil, this air,
Born here of parents born here, from parents the same, and their parents the
I, now thirty-six years old, in perfect health, begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.
Creeds and schools in abeyance,
(Retiring back a while, sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,)
I harbor, for good or badI permit to speak, at every hazard,
Nature now without check, with original energy.
5Take my leaves, America! take them, South, and take them, North!
Make welcome for them everywhere, for they are your own offspring;
Surround them, East and West! for they would surround you;
And you precedents! connect lovingly with them, for they connect lovingly with
I connd old times;
I sat studying at the feet of the great masters:
Now, if eligible, O that the great masters might return and study me!
In the name of These States, shall I scorn the antique?
Why These are the children of the antique, to justify it.
6Dead poets, philosophs, priests,
Martyrs, artists, inventors, governments long since,
Language-shapers, on other shores,
Nations once powerful, now reduced, withdrawn, or desolate,
I dare not proceed till I respectfully credit what you have left, wafted hither:
I have perused itown it is admirable, (moving awhile among it;)
Think nothing can ever be greaternothing can ever deserve more than it
Regarding it all intently a long whilethen dismissing it,
I stand in my place, with my own day, here.
Here lands female and male;
Here the heir-ship and heiress-ship of the worldhere the flame of
Here Spirituality, the translatress, the openly-avowd,
The ever-tending, the finale of visible forms;
The satisfier, after due long-waiting, now advancing,
Yes, here comes my mistress, the Soul.
Forever and foreverlonger than soil is brown and solidlonger than
water ebbs and flows.
I will make the poems of materials, for I think they are to be the most
And I will make the poems of my body and of mortality,
For I think I shall then supply myself with the poems of my Soul, and of
I will make a song for These States, that no-one State may under any
circumstances be subjected to another State;
And I will make a song that there shall be comity by day and by night between
all The States, and between any two of them:
And I will make a song for the ears of the President, full of weapons with
And behind the weapons countless dissatisfied faces:
And a song make I, of the One formd out of all;
The fangd and glittering One whose head is over all;
Resolute, warlike One, including and over all;
(However high the head of any else, that head is over all.)
I will acknowledge contemporary lands;
I will trail the whole geography of the globe, and salute courteously every city
large and small;
And employments! I will put in my poems, that with you is heroism, upon land and
And I will report all heroism from an American point of view.
I will sing the song of companionship;
I will show what alone must finally compact These;
I believe These are to found their own ideal of manly love, indicating it in me;
I will therefore let flame from me the burning fires that were threatening to
I will lift what has too long kept down those smouldering fires;
I will give them complete abandonment;
I will write the evangel-poem of comrades, and of love;
(For who but I should understand love, with all its sorrow and joy?
And who but I should be the poet of comrades?)
8I am the credulous man of qualities, ages, races;
I advance from the people in their own spirit;
Here is what sings unrestricted faith.
Omnes! Omnes! let others ignore what they may;
I make the poem of evil alsoI commemorate that part also;
I am myself just as much evil as good, and my nation isAnd I say there is
in fact no evil;
(Or if there is, I say it is just as important to you, to the land, or to me, as
I too, following many, and followd by many, inaugurate a ReligionI
descend into the arena;
(It may be I am destind to utter the loudest cries there, the
winners pealing shouts;
Who knows? they may rise from me yet, and soar above every thing.)
Each is not for its own sake;
I say the whole earth, and all the stars in the sky, are for Religions
I say no man has ever yet been half devout enough;
None has ever yet adored or worshipd half enough;
None has begun to think how divine he himself is, and how certain the future is.
I say that the real and permanent grandeur of These States must be their
Otherwise there is no real and permanent grandeur:
(Nor character, nor life worthy the name, without Religion;
Nor land, nor man or woman, without Religion.)
9What are you doing, young man?
Are you so earnestso given up to literature, science, art, amours?
These ostensible realities, politics, points?
Your ambition or business, whatever it may be?
It is wellAgainst such I say not a wordI am their poet also;
But behold! such swiftly subsideburnt up for Religions sake;
For not all matter is fuel to heat, impalpable flame, the essential life of the
Any more than such are to Religion.
10What do you seek, so pensive and silent?
What do you need, Camerado?
Dear son! do you think it is love?
Listen, dear sonlisten, America, daughter or son!
It is a painful thing to love a man or woman to excessand yet it
satisfiesit is great;
But there is something else very greatit makes the whole coincide;
It, magnificent, beyond materials, with continuous hands, sweeps and provides
11Know you! solely to drop in the earth the germs of a greater Religion,
The following chants, each for its kind, I sing.
For you, to share with me, two greatnessesand a third one, rising
inclusive and more resplendent,
The greatness of Love and Democracyand the greatness of Religion.
Melange mine own! the unseen and the seen;
Mysterious ocean where the streams empty;
Prophetic spirit of materials shifting and flickering around me;
Living beings, identities, now doubtless near us, in the air, that we know not
Contact daily and hourly that will not release me;
These selectingthese, in hints, demanded of me.
Not he, with a daily kiss, onward from childhood kissing me,
Has winded and twisted around me that which holds me to him,
Any more than I am held to the heavens, to the spiritual world,
And to the identities of the Gods, my lovers, faithful and true,
After what they have done to me, suggesting themes.
O such themes! Equalities!
O amazement of things! O divine average!
O warblings under the sunusherd, as now, or at noon, or setting!
O strain, musical, flowing through agesnow reaching hither!
I take to your reckless and composite chordsI add to them, and cheerfully
pass them forward.
12As I have walkd in Alabama my morning walk,
I have seen where the she-bird, the mocking-bird, sat on her nest in the briers,
hatching her brood.
I have seen the he-bird also;
I have paused to hear him, near at hand, inflating his throat, and joyfully
And while I paused, it came to me that what he really sang for was not there
Nor for his mate, nor himself only, nor all sent back by the echoes;
But subtle, clandestine, away beyond,
A charge transmitted, and gift occult, for those being born.
Near at hand to you a throat is now inflating itself and joyfully singing.
For the brood beyond us and of us,
For those who belong here, and those to come,
I, exultant, to be ready for them, will now shake out carols stronger and
haughtier than have ever yet been heard upon earth.
I will make the songs of passion, to give them their way,
And your songs, outlawd offendersfor I scan you with kindred eyes,
and carry you with me the same as any.
I will make the true poem of riches,
To earn for the body and the mind whatever adheres, and goes forward, and is not
dropt by death.
I will effuse egotism, and show it underlying alland I will be the bard of
And I will show of male and female that either is but the equal of the other;
And sexual organs and acts! do you concentrate in mefor I am
determind to tell you with courageous clear voice, to prove you
And I will show that there is no imperfection in the presentand can be
none in the future;
And I will show that whatever happens to anybody, it may be turnd to
beautiful resultsand I will show that nothing can happen more beautiful
And I will thread a thread through my poems that time and events are compact,
And that all the things of the universe are perfect miracles, each as profound
I will not make poems with reference to parts;
But I will make leaves, poems, poemets, songs, says, thoughts with reference to
And I will not sing with reference to a day, but with reference to all days;
And I will not make a poem, nor the least part of a poem, but has reference to
(Because, having lookd at the objects of the universe, I find there is no
one, nor any particle of one, but has reference to the Soul.)
14Was somebody asking to see the Soul?
See! your own shape and countenancepersons, substances, beasts, the trees,
the running rivers, the rocks and sands.
All hold spiritual joys, and afterwards loosen them:
How can the real body ever die, and be buried?
Of your real body, and any mans or womans real body,
Item for item, it will elude the hands of the corpse-cleaners, and pass to
Carrying what has accrued to it from the moment of birth to the moment of death.
Not the types set up by the printer return their impression, the meaning, the
Any more than a mans substance and life, or a womans substance and
life, return in the body and the Soul,
Indifferently before death and after death.
Behold! the body includes and is the meaning, the main concernand includes
and is the Soul;
Whoever you are! how superb and how divine is your body, or any part of it.
15Whoever you are! to you endless announcements.
Daughter of the lands, did you wait for your poet?
Did you wait for one with a flowing mouth and indicative hand?
Toward the male of The States, and toward the female of The States,
Live wordswords to the lands.
O the lands! interlinkd, food-yielding lands!
Land of coal and iron! Land of gold! Lands of cotton, sugar, rice!
Land of wheat, beef, pork! Land of wool and hemp! Land of the apple and grape!
Land of the pastoral plains, the grass-fields of the world! Land of those
sweet-aird interminable plateaus!
Land of the herd, the garden, the healthy house of adobie!
Lands where the northwest Columbia winds, and where the southwest Colorado
Land of the eastern Chesapeake! Land of the Delaware!
Land of Ontario, Erie, Huron, Michigan!
Land of the Old Thirteen! Massachusetts land! Land of Vermont and Connecticut!
Land of the ocean shores! Land of sierras and peaks!
Land of boatmen and sailors! Fishermens land!
Inextricable lands! the clutchd together! the passionate ones!
The side by side! the elder and younger brothers! the bony-limbd!
The great womens land! the feminine! the experienced sisters and the
Far breathd land! Arctic braced! Mexican breezd! the diverse! the
The Pennsylvanian! the Virginian! the double Carolinian!
O all and each well-loved by me! my intrepid nations! O I at any rate include
you all with perfect love!
I cannot be discharged from you! not from one, any sooner than another!
O Death! O for all that, I am yet of you, unseen, this hour, with irrepressible
Walking New England, a friend, a traveler,
Splashing my bare feet in the edge of the summer ripples, on Paumanoks
Crossing the prairiesdwelling again in Chicagodwelling in every
Observing shows, births, improvements, structures, arts,
Listening to the orators and the oratresses in public halls,
Of and through The States, as during lifeeach man and woman my neighbor,
The Louisianian, the Georgian, as near to me, and I as near to him and her,
The Mississippian and Arkansian yet with meand I yet with any of them;
Yet upon the plains west of the spinal riveryet in my house of adobie,
Yet returning eastwardyet in the Sea-Side State, or in Maryland,
Yet Kanadian, cheerily braving the winterthe snow and ice welcome to me,
Yet a true son either of Maine, or of the Granite State, or of the Narragansett
Bay State, or of the Empire State;
Yet sailing to other shores to annex the sameyet welcoming every new
Hereby applying these leaves to the new ones, from the hour they unite with the
Coming among the new ones myself, to be their companion and equalcoming
personally to you now;
Enjoining you to acts, characters, spectacles, with me.
16With me, with firm holdingyet haste, haste on.
For your life, adhere to me!
Of all the men of the earth, I only can unloose you and toughen you;
I may have to be persuaded many times before I consent to give myself really to
youbut what of that?
Must not Nature be persuaded many times?
No dainty dolce affettuoso I;
Bearded, sun-burnt, gray-neckd, forbidding, I have arrived,
To be wrestled with as I pass, for the solid prizes of the universe;
For such I afford whoever can persevere to win them.
17On my way a moment I pause;
Here for you! and here for America!
Still the Present I raise aloftStill the Future of The States I harbinge,
glad and sublime;
And for the Past, I pronounce what the air holds of the red aborigines.
The red aborigines!
Leaving natural breaths, sounds of rain and winds, calls as of birds and animals
in the woods, syllabled to us for names;
Okonee, Koosa, Ottawa, Monongahela, Sauk, Natchez, Chattahoochee, Kaqueta,
Wabash, Miami, Saginaw, Chippewa, Oshkosh, Walla-Walla;
Leaving such to The States, they melt, they depart, charging the water and the
land with names.
18O expanding and swift! O henceforth,
Elements, breeds, adjustments, turbulent, quick, and audacious;
A world primal againVistas of glory, incessant and branching;
A new race, dominating previous ones, and grander farwith new contests,
New politics, new literatures and religions, new inventions and arts.
These! my voice announcingI will sleep no more, but arise;
You oceans that have been calm within me! how I feel you, fathomless, stirring,
preparing unprecedented waves and storms.
19See! steamers steaming through my poems!
See, in my poems immigrants continually coming and landing;
See, in arriere, the wigwam, the trail, the hunters hut, the flatboat, the
maize-leaf, the claim, the rude fence, and the backwoods village;
See, on the one side the Western Sea, and on the other the Eastern Sea, how they
advance and retreat upon my poems, as upon their own shores.
See, pastures and forests in my poemsSee, animals, wild and tameSee,
beyond the Kanzas, countless herds of buffalo, feeding on short curly grass;
See, in my poems, cities, solid, vast, inland, with paved streets, with iron and
stone edifices, ceaseless vehicles, and commerce;
See, the many-cylinderd steam printing-pressSee, the electric
telegraph, stretching across the Continent, from the Western Sea to Manhattan;
See, through Atlanticas depths, pulses American, Europe
reachingpulses of Europe, duly returnd;
See, the strong and quick locomotive, as it departs, panting, blowing the
See, ploughmen, ploughing farmsSee, miners, digging minesSee, the
See, mechanics, busy at their benches, with toolsSee from among them,
superior judges, philosophs, Presidents, emerge, drest in working dresses;
See, lounging through the shops and fields of The States, me, well-belovd,
close-held by day and night;
Hear the loud echoes of my songs there! Read the hints come at last.
20O Camerado close!
O you and me at lastand us two only.
O a word to clear ones path ahead endlessly!
O something extatic and undemonstrable! O music wild!
O now I triumphand you shall also;
O hand in handO wholesome pleasureO one more desirer and lover!
O to haste, firm holdingto haste, haste on with me.