Best Poems From
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
As toilsome I wander'd Virginia's woods
As toilsome I wander'd Virginia's woods,
To the music of rustling leaves kick'd by my feet, (for 'twas autumn,)
I mark'd at the foot of a tree the grave of a soldier;
Mortally wounded he and buried on the retreat, (easily all I could understand,)
The halt of a midday hour, when up! no time to lose--yet this sign left,
On a tablet scrawl'd and nail'd on the tree by the grave,
Bold, cautious, true, and my loving comrade.
Long, long I muse, then on my way go wandering,
Many a changeful season to follow, and many a scene of life,
Yet at times through changeful season and scene, abrupt, alone, or in the crowded street,
Comes before me the unknown soldier's grave, come the inscription rude in Virginia's woods.
Bold, cautious, true, and my loving comrade.
Read more: soldier poems, autumn poems, tree poems, music poems, alone poems, time poems, life poems, lost poems
I Saw In Louisiana A Live Oak Growing
I SAW in Louisiana a live-oak growing,
All alone stood it, and the moss hung down from the branches;
Without any companion it grew there, uttering joyous leaves of dark
And its look, rude, unbending, lusty, made me think of myself;
But I wonder'd how it could utter joyous leaves, standing alone
there, without its friend, its lover near--for I knew I could
And I broke off a twig with a certain number of leaves upon it, and
twined around it a little moss,
And brought it away--and I have placed it in sight in my room;
It is not needed to remind me as of my own dear friends,
(For I believe lately I think of little else than of them;)
Yet it remains to me a curious token--it makes me think of manly
For all that, and though the live-oak glistens there in Louisiana,
solitary, in a wide flat space,
Uttering joyous leaves all its life, without a friend, a lover, near,
I know very well I could not.
Read more: friend poems, believe poems, alone poems, green poems, dark poems, life poems
In Cabin'd Ships At Sea
IN cabin'd ships, at sea,
The boundless blue on every side expanding,
With whistling winds and music of the waves--the large imperious
Or some lone bark, buoy'd on the dense marine,
Where, joyous, full of faith, spreading white sails,
She cleaves the ether, mid the sparkle and the foam of day, or under
many a star at night,
By sailors young and old, haply will I, a reminiscence of the land,
In full rapport at last.
Here are our thoughts--voyagers' thoughts,
Here not the land, firm land, alone appears, may then by them be
The sky o'erarches here--we feel the undulating deck beneath our
We feel the long pulsation--ebb and flow of endless motion;
The tones of unseen mystery--the vague and vast suggestions of the
briny world--the liquid-flowing syllables,
The perfume, the faint creaking of the cordage, the melancholy
The boundless vista, and the horizon far and dim, are all here,
And this is Ocean's poem.
Then falter not, O book! fulfil your destiny!
You, not a reminiscence of the land alone,
You too, as a lone bark, cleaving the ether--purpos'd I know
not whither--yet ever full of faith, 20
Consort to every ship that sails--sail you!
Bear forth to them, folded, my love--(Dear mariners! for you I fold
it here, in every leaf;)
Speed on, my Book! spread your white sails, my little bark, athwart
the imperious waves!
Chant on--sail on--bear o'er the boundless blue, from me, to every
This song for mariners and all their ships.
Read more: faith poems, destiny poems, poem poems, alone poems, ocean poems, star poems, music poems, song poems, sea poems, sky poems, world poems, night poems, wind poems
Manhattan Streets I Saunter'd, Pondering
MANHATTAN'S streets I saunter'd, pondering,
On time, space, reality--on such as these, and abreast with them,
After all, the last explanation remains to be made about prudence;
Little and large alike drop quietly aside from the prudence that
The Soul is of itself;
All verges to it--all has reference to what ensues;
All that a person does, says, thinks, is of consequence;
Not a move can a man or woman make, that affects him or her in a day,
month, any part of the direct life-time, or the hour of death,
but the same affects him or her onward afterward through the
The indirect is just as much as the direct,
The spirit receives from the body just as much as it gives to the
body, if not more. 10
Not one word or deed--not venereal sore, discoloration, privacy of
the onanist, putridity of gluttons or rum-drinkers, peculation,
cunning, betrayal, murder, seduction, prostitution, but has
results beyond death, as really as before death.
Charity and personal force are the only investments worth anything.
No specification is necessary--all that a male or female does, that
is vigorous, benevolent, clean, is so much profit to him or
her, in the unshakable order of the universe, and through the
whole scope of it forever.
Who has been wise, receives interest,
Savage, felon, President, judge, farmer, sailor, mechanic, literat,
young, old, it is the same,
The interest will come round--all will come round.
Singly, wholly, to affect now, affected their time, will forever
affect all of the past, and all of the present, and all of the
All the brave actions of war and peace,
All help given to relatives, strangers, the poor, old, sorrowful,
young children, widows, the sick, and to shunn'd persons,
All furtherance of fugitives, and of the escape of slaves, 20
All self-denial that stood steady and aloof on wrecks, and saw others
fill the seats of the boats,
All offering of substance or life for the good old cause, or for a
friend's sake, or opinion's sake,
All pains of enthusiasts, scoff'd at by their neighbors,
All the limitless sweet love and precious suffering of mothers,
All honest men baffled in strifes recorded or unrecorded,
All the grandeur and good of ancient nations whose fragments we
All the good of the dozens of ancient nations unknown to us by name,
All that was ever manfully begun, whether it succeeded or no,
All suggestions of the divine mind of man, or the divinity of his
mouth, or the shaping of his great hands;
All that is well thought or said this day on any part of the globe--
or on any of the wandering stars, or on any of the fix'd stars,
by those there as we are here; 30
All that is henceforth to be thought or done by you, whoever you are,
or by any one;
These inure, have inured, shall inure, to the identities from which
they sprang, or shall spring.
Did you guess anything lived only its moment?
The world does not so exist--no parts palpable or impalpable so
No consummation exists without being from some long previous
consummation--and that from some other,
Without the farthest conceivable one coming a bit nearer the
beginning than any.
Whatever satisfies Souls is true;
Prudence entirely satisfies the craving and glut of Souls;
Itself only finally satisfies the Soul;
The Soul has that measureless pride which revolts from every lesson
but its own. 40
Now I give you an inkling;
Now I breathe the word of the prudence that walks abreast with time,
That answers the pride which refuses every lesson but its own.
What is prudence, is indivisible,
Declines to separate one part of life from every part,
Divides not the righteous from the unrighteous, or the living from
Matches every thought or act by its correlative,
Knows no possible forgiveness, or deputed atonement,
Knows that the young man who composedly peril'd his life and lost it,
has done exceedingly well for himself without doubt,
That he who never peril'd his life, but retains it to old age in
riches and ease, has probably achiev'd nothing for himself
worth mentioning; 50
Knows that only that person has really learn'd, who has learn'd to
Who favors Body and Soul the same,
Who perceives the indirect assuredly following the direct,
Who in his spirit in any emergency whatever neither hurries or,
Read more: pride poems, death poems, murder poems, sick poems, time poems, future poems, life poems, war poems, woman poems, spring poems, children poems, friend poems, peace poems, lost poems, child poems, star poems, women poems