|To think of time! to think through the retro-|
|To think of today, and the ages continued hence-|
|Have you guessed you yourself would not con-|
tinue? Have you dreaded those earth-
|Have you feared the future would be nothing to|
|Is today nothing? Is the beginningless past|
|If the future is nothing, they are just as surely|
|To think that the sun rose in the east! that men|
and women were flexible, real, alive! that
every thing was alive!
|To think that you and I did not see, feel, think,|
nor bear our part!
|To think that we are now here, and bear our part!|
|Not a day passes, not a minute or second, without|
|Not a day passes, not a minute or second, without|
|The dull nights go over, and the dull days also,|
|The soreness of lying so much in bed goes over,|
|The physician, after long putting off, gives the|
silent and terrible look for an answer,
|The children come hurried and weeping, and the|
brothers and sisters are sent for,
|Medicines stand unused on the shelf—the cam-|
phor-smell has pervaded the rooms,
|The faithful hand of the living does not desert the|
hand of the dying,
|The twitching lips press lightly on the forehead|
of the dying,
|The breath ceases and the pulse of the heart|
|The corpse stretches on the bed, and the living|
look upon it,
|It is palpable as the living are palpable.|
|The living look upon the corpse with their eye-|
|But without eye-sight lingers a different living,|
and looks curiously on the corpse.
|To think that the rivers will come to flow, and the|
snow fall, and fruits ripen, and act upon others
as upon us now—yet not act upon us!
|To think of all these wonders of city and country,|
and others taking great interest in them—and
we taking no interest in them!
|To think how eager we are in building our houses!|
|To think others shall be just as eager, and we|
|I see one building the house that serves him a few|
years, or seventy or eighty years at most,
|I see one building the house that serves him longer|
|Slow-moving and black lines creep over the whole|
earth—they never cease—they are the
|He that was President was buried, and he that is|
now President shall surely be buried.
|Cold dash of waves at the ferry-wharf—posh and|
ice in the river, half-frozen mud in the streets,
a gray discouraged sky overhead, the short
last daylight of December,
|A hearse and stages, other vehicles give place —|
the funeral of an old Broadway stage-driver,
the cortege mostly drivers.
|Rapid the trot to the cemetery, duly rattles the|
death-bell, the gate is passed, the grave is
halted at, the living alight, the hearse
|The coffin is lowered and settled, the whip is laid|
on the coffin, the earth is swiftly shovelled in
—a minute, no one moves or speaks—it is
|He is decently put away—is there anything|
|He was a good fellow, free-mouthed, quick-tem-|
pered, not bad-looking, able to take his own
part, witty, sensitive to a slight, ready with
life or death for a friend, fond of women,
played some, ate hearty, drank hearty, had
known what it was to be flush, grew low-
spirited toward the last, sickened, was helped
by a contribution, died aged forty-one years —
and that was his funeral.
|Thumb extended, finger uplifted, apron, cape,|
gloves, strap, wet-weather clothes, whip care-
fully chosen, boss, spotter, starter, hostler,
somebody loafing on you, you loafing on
somebody, head-way, man before and man
behind, good day's work, bad day's work, pet
stock, mean stock, first out, last out, turning
in at night,
|To think that these are so much and so nigh to|
other drivers—and he there takes no interest
|The markets, the government, the working-man's|
wages—to think what account they are
through our nights and days!
|To think that other working-men will make just as|
great account of them—yet we make little
or no account!
|The vulgar and the refined, what you call sin and|
what you call goodness—to think how wide
|To think the difference will still continue to oth-|
ers, yet we lie beyond the difference!
|To think how much pleasure there is!|
|Have you pleasure from looking at the sky?|
have you pleasure from poems?
|Do you enjoy yourself in the city? or engaged in|
business? or planning a nomination and elec-
tion? or with your wife and family?
|Or with your mother and sisters? or in womanly|
house-work? or the beautiful maternal cares?
|These also flow onward to others—you and I|
|But in due time you and I shall take less interest|
|Your farm, profits, crops—to think how engrossed|
|To think there will still be farms, profits, crops —|
yet for you, of what avail?
|What will be, will be well—for what is, is well,|
|To take interest is well, and not to take interest|
shall be well.
|The sky continues beautiful, the pleasure of men|
with women shall never be sated, nor the
pleasure of women with men, nor the pleas-
ure from poems,
|The domestic joys, the daily house-work or busi-|
ness, the building of houses—these are not
phantasms, they have weight, form, location;
|Farms, profits, crops, markets, wages, government,|
are none of them phantasms,
|The difference between sin and goodness is no|
|The earth is not an echo—man and his life, and|
all the things of his life, are well-considered.
|You are not thrown to the winds—you gather|
certainly and safely around yourself,
|Yourself! Yourself! Yourself, forever and ever!|
|It is not to diffuse you that you were born of your|
mother and father—it is to identify you,
|It is not that you should be undecided, but that|
you should be decided;
|Something long preparing and formless is arrived|
and formed in you,
|You are thenceforth secure, whatever comes or|
|The threads that were spun are gathered, the weft|
crosses the warp, the pattern is systematic.
|The preparations have every one been justified,|
|The orchestra have tuned their instruments suffi-|
ciently, the baton has given the signal.
|The guest that was coming—he waited long for|
reasons—he is now housed,
|He is one of those who are beautiful and happy —|
he is one of those that to look upon and be
with is enough.
|The law of the past cannot be eluded!|
|The law of the present and future cannot be|
|The law of the living cannot be eluded—it is|
|The law of promotion and transformation cannot|
|The law of heroes and good-doers cannot be|
|The law of drunkards, informers, mean persons,|
cannot be eluded!
|Slow-moving and black lines go ceaselessly over|
|Northerner goes carried, and southerner goes car-|
ried, and they on the Atlantic side, and they
on the Pacific, and they between, and all
through the Mississippi country, and all over
|The great masters and kosmos are well as they|
go—the heroes and good-doers are well,
|The known leaders and inventors, and the rich|
owners and pious and distinguished, may be
|But there is more account than that—there is|
strict account of all.
|The interminable hordes of the ignorant and|
wicked are not nothing,
|The barbarians of Africa and Asia are not nothing,|
|The common people of Europe are not nothing —|
the American aborigines are not nothing,
|The infected in the immigrant hospital are not|
nothing—the murderer or mean person is
|The perpetual successions of shallow people are|
not nothing as they go,
|The prostitute is not nothing—the mocker of re-|
ligion is not nothing as he goes.
|I shall go with the rest—we have satisfaction,|
|I have dreamed that we are not to be changed so|
much, nor the law of us changed,
|I have dreamed that heroes and good-doers shall|
be under the present and past law,
|And that murderers, drunkards, liars, shall be|
under the present and past law,
|For I have dreamed that the law they are under|
now is enough.
|And I have dreamed that the satisfaction is not so|
much changed, and that there is no life
|What is the earth? what are body and soul, with-|
|I shall go with the rest,|
|We cannot be stopped at a given point—that is|
|To show us a good thing, or a few good things,|
for a space of time—that is no satisfaction,
|We must have the indestructible breed of the best,|
regardless of time.
|If otherwise, all these things came but to ashes|
|If maggots and rats ended us, then suspicion,|
|Do you suspect death? If I were to suspect|
death, I should die now,
|Do you think I could walk pleasantly and well-|
suited toward annihilation?
|Pleasantly and well-suited I walk,|
|Whither I walk I cannot define, but I know it is|
|The whole universe indicates that it is good,|
|The past and the present indicate that it is good.|
|How beautiful and perfect are the animals! How|
perfect is my soul!
|How perfect the earth, and the minutest thing|
|What is called good is perfect, and what is called|
bad is just as perfect,
|The vegetables and minerals are all perfect, and|
the imponderable fluids are perfect;
|Slowly and surely they have passed on to this,|
and slowly and surely they yet pass on.
|My soul! if I realize you, I have satisfaction,|
|Animals and vegetables! if I realize you, I have|
|Laws of the earth and air! if I realize you, I|
|I cannot define my satisfaction, yet it is so,|
|I cannot define my life, yet it is so.|
|O I swear I think now that every thing has an|
|The trees have, rooted in the ground! the weeds|
of the sea have! the animals!
|I swear I think there is nothing but immortality!|
|That the exquisite scheme is for it, and the nebu-|
lous float is for it, and the cohering is for it!
|And all preparation is for it! and identity is for|
it! and life and death are for it!