AS a strong bird on pinions free,
Joyous, the amplest spaces heavenward cleaving,
Such be the thought Id think to-day of thee, America,
Such be the recitative Id bring to-day for thee.
The conceits of the poets of other lands I bring thee not,
Nor the compliments that have served their turn so long,
Nor rhymenor the classicsnor perfume of foreign court, or indoor library;
But an odor Id bring to-day as from forests of pine in the north, in Maineor
of an Illinois prairie,
With open airs of Virginia, or Georgia, or Tennesseeor from Texas uplands, or
With presentment of Yellowstones scenes, or Yosemite;
And murmuring under, pervading all, Id bring the rustling sea-sound,
That endlessly sounds from the two great seas of the world.
And for thy subtler sense, subtler refrains, O Union!
Preludes of intellect tallying these and theemind-formulas fitted for
sane, and large as these and thee;
Thou, mounting higher, diving deeper than we knewthou transcendental Union!
By thee Fact to be justifiedblended with Thought;
Thought of Man justifiedblended with God:
Through thy Idealo! the immortal Reality!
Through thy Realitylo! the immortal Idea!
Brain of the New World! what a task is thine!
To formulate the Modern.....Out of the peerless grandeur of the modern,
Out of Thyselfcomprising Scienceto recast Poems, Churches, Art,
(Recastmay-be discard them, end themMay-be their work is donewho knows?)
By vision, hand, conception, on the background of the mighty past, the dead,
To limn, with absolute faith, the mighty living present.
(And yet, thou living, present brain! heir of the dead, the Old World brain!
Thou that lay folded, like an unborn babe, within its folds so long!
Thou carefully prepared by it so long!haply thou but unfoldest itonly maturest
It to eventuate in theethe essence of the by-gone time containd in thee;
Its poems, churches, arts, unwitting to themselves, destined with reference to thee,
The fruit of all the Old, ripening to-day in thee.)
Sailsail thy best, ship of Democracy!
Of value is thy freighttis not the Present only,
The Past is also stored in thee!
Thou holdest not the venture of thyself alonenot of thy western continent alone;
Earths résumé entire floats on thy keel, O shipis
With thee Time voyages in trustthe antecedent nations sink or swim with thee;
With all their ancient struggles, martyrs, heroes, epics, wars, thou bearst the
Theirs, theirs as much as thine, the destination-port triumphant:
Steer, steer with good strong hand and wary eye, O helmsmanthou carryest great
Venerable, priestly Asia sails this day with thee,
And royal, feudal Europe sails with thee.
Beautiful World of new, superber Birth, that rises to my eyes,
Like a limitless golden cloud, filling the western sky;
Emblem of general Maternity, lifted above all;
Sacred shape of the bearer of daughters and sons;
Out of thy teeming womb, thy giant babes in ceaseless procession issuing,
Acceding from such gestation, taking and giving continual strength and life;
World of the Real! world of the twain in one!
World of the Soulborn by the world of the real aloneled to identity, body, by
Yet in beginning onlyincalculable masses of composite, precious materials,
By historys cycles forwardedby every nation, language, hither sent,
Ready, collected herea freer, vast, electric World, to be constructed here,
(The true New Worldthe world of orbic Science, Morals, Literatures to come,)
Thou Wonder World, yet undefined, unformdneither do I define thee;
How can I pierce the impenetrable blank of the future?
I feel thy ominous greatness, evil as well as good;
I watch thee, advancing, absorbing the present, transcending the past;
I see thy light lighting and thy shadow shadowing, as if the entire globe;
But I do not undertake to define theehardly to comprehend thee;
I but thee namethee prophecyas now!
I merely thee ejaculate!
Thee in thy future;
Thee in thy only permanent life, careerthy own unloosend mindthy soaring
Thee as another equally needed sun, Americaradiant, ablaze, swift-moving,
Thee! risen in thy potent cheerfulness and joythy endless, great hilarity!
(Scattering for good the cloud that hung so longthat weighd so long upon the
The doubt, suspicion, dread, of gradual, certain decadence of man;)
Thee in thy larger, saner breeds of Female, Malethee in thy athletes, moral,
South, North, West, East,
(To thy immortal breasts, Mother of All, thy every daughter, son, endeard alike,
Thee in thy own musicians, singers, artists, unborn yet, but certain;
Thee in thy moral wealth and civilization (until which thy proudest material wealth and
civilization must remain in vain;)
Thee in thy all-supplying, all-enclosing Worshipthee in no single bible, saviour,
Thy saviours countless, latent within thyselfthy bibles incessant, within thyself,
to any, divine as any;
Thee in an education grown of theein teachers, studies, students, born of thee;
Thee in thy democratic fetes, en massethy high original festivals, operas,
Thee in thy ultimata, (the preparations only now completedthe edifice on sure
Thee in thy pinnacles, intellect, thoughtthy topmost rational joysthy love,
In thy resplendent coming literatithy full-lungd oratorsthy sacerdotal
These! these in thee, (certain to come,) to-day I prophecy.
Land tolerating allaccepting allnot for the good aloneall good for thee;
Land in the realms of God to be a realm unto thyself;
Under the rule of God to be a rule unto thyself.
(Lo! where arise three peerless stars,
To be thy natal stars, my countryEnsembleEvolutionFreedom,
Set in the sky of Law.)
Land of unprecedented faithGods faith!
Thy soil, thy very subsoil, all upheavd;
The general inner earth, so long, so sedulously draped over, now and hence for what it is,
boldly laid bare,
Opend by thee to heavens light, for benefit or bale.
Not for success alone;
Not to fair-sail unintermitted always;
The storm shall dash thy facethe murk of war, and worse than war, shall cover thee
(Wert capable of warits tug and trials? Be capable of peace, its trials;
For the tug and mortal strain of nations come at last in peacenot war;)
In many a smiling mask death shall approach, beguiling theethou in disease shalt
The livid cancer spread its hideous claws, clinging upon thy breasts, seeking to strike
Consumption of the worstmoral consumptionshall rouge thy face with hectic:
But thou shalt face thy fortunes, thy diseases, and surmount them all,
Whatever they are to-day, and whatever through time they may be,
They each and all shall lift, and pass away, and cease from thee;
While thou, Times spirals roundingout of thyself, thyself still extricating,
Equable, natural, mystical Union thou(the mortal with immortal blent,)
Shalt soar toward the fulfilment of the futurethe spirit of the body and the mind,
The Soulits destinies.
The Soul, its destiniesthe real real,
(Purport of all these apparitions of the real;)
In thee, America, the Soul, its destinies;
Thou globe of globes! thou wonder nebulous!
By many a throe of heat and cold convulsd(by these thyself solidifying;)
Thou mental, moral orb! thou New, indeed new, Spiritual World!
The Present holds thee notfor such vast growth as thinefor such
flight as thine,
The Future only holds thee, and can hold thee.