Best Poems From
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
Song Of The Universal
COME, said the Muse,
Sing me a song no poet yet has chanted,
Sing me the Universal.
In this broad Earth of ours,
Amid the measureless grossness and the slag,
Enclosed and safe within its central heart,
Nestles the seed Perfection.
By every life a share, or more or less,
None born but it is born--conceal'd or unconceal'd, the seed is
Lo! keen-eyed, towering Science! 10
As from tall peaks the Modern overlooking,
Successive, absolute fiats issuing.
Yet again, lo! the Soul--above all science;
For it, has History gather'd like a husk around the globe;
For it, the entire star-myriads roll through the sky.
In spiral roads, by long detours,
(As a much-tacking ship upon the sea,)
For it, the partial to the permanent flowing,
For it, the Real to the Ideal tends.
For it, the mystic evolution; 20
Not the right only justified--what we call evil also justified.
Forth from their masks, no matter what,
From the huge, festering trunk--from craft and guile and tears,
Health to emerge, and joy--joy universal.
Out of the bulk, the morbid and the shallow,
Out of the bad majority--the varied, countless frauds of men and
Electric, antiseptic yet--cleaving, suffusing all,
Only the good is universal.
Over the mountain growths, disease and sorrow,
An uncaught bird is ever hovering, hovering, 30
High in the purer, happier air.
From imperfection's murkiest cloud,
Darts always forth one ray of perfect light,
One flash of Heaven's glory.
To fashion's, custom's discord,
To the mad Babel-din, the deafening orgies,
Soothing each lull, a strain is heard, just heard,
From some far shore, the final chorus sounding.
O the blest eyes! the happy hearts!
That see--that know the guiding thread so fine, 40
Along the mighty labyrinth!
And thou, America!
For the Scheme's culmination--its Thought, and its Reality,
For these, (not for thyself,) Thou hast arrived.
Thou too surroundest all;
Embracing, carrying, welcoming all, Thou too, by pathways broad and
To the Ideal tendest.
The measur'd faiths of other lands--the grandeurs of the past,
Are not for Thee--but grandeurs of Thine own;
Deific faiths and amplitudes, absorbing, comprehending all, 50
All eligible to all.
All, all for Immortality!
Love, like the light, silently wrapping all!
Nature's amelioration blessing all!
The blossoms, fruits of ages--orchards divine and certain;
Forms, objects, growths, humanities, to spiritual Images ripening.
Give me, O God, to sing that thought!
Give me--give him or her I love, this quenchless faith
In Thy ensemble. Whatever else withheld, withhold not from us,
Belief in plan of Thee enclosed in Time and Space; 60
Health, peace, salvation universal.
Is it a dream?
Nay, but the lack of it the dream,
And, failing it, life's lore and wealth a dream,
And all the world a dream.
Read more: dream poems, america poems, history poems, joy poems, evil poems, faith poems, sorrow poems, star poems, nature poems, light poems, happy poems, peace poems, song poems, heaven poems, sea poems, sky poems
As I lay With Head In Your Lap, Camerado
AS I lay with my head in your lap, Camerado,
The confession I made I resume--what I said to you in the open air I
I know I am restless, and make others so;
I know my words are weapons, full of danger, full of death;
(Indeed I am myself the real soldier;
It is not he, there, with his bayonet, and not the red-striped
For I confront peace, security, and all the settled laws, to unsettle
I am more resolute because all have denied me, than I could ever have
been had all accepted me;
I heed not, and have never heeded, either experience, cautions,
majorities, nor ridicule;
And the threat of what is call'd hell is little or nothing to me; 10
And the lure of what is call'd heaven is little or nothing to me;
...Dear camerado! I confess I have urged you onward with me, and
still urge you, without the least idea what is our destination,
Or whether we shall be victorious, or utterly quell'd and defeated.
Read more: soldier poems, peace poems, red poems, heaven poems, death 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
Prayer Of Columbus
IT was near the close of his indomitable and pious life--on his last voyage
when nearly 70 years of age--that Columbus, to save his two remaining ships
from foundering in the Caribbean Sea in a terrible storm, had to run them
ashore on the Island of Jamaica--where, laid up for a long and miserable
year--1503--he was taken very sick, had several relapses, his men revolted,
and death seem'd daily imminent; though he was eventually rescued, and sent
home to Spain to die, unrecognized, neglected and in want......It is only
ask'd, as preparation and atmosphere for the following lines, that the bare
authentic facts be recall'd and realized, and nothing contributed by the
fancy. See, the Antillean Island, with its florid skies and rich foliage
and scenery, the waves beating the solitary sands, and the hulls of the
ships in the distance. See, the figure of the great Admiral, walking the
beach, as a stage, in this sublimest tragedy--for what tragedy, what poem,
so piteous and majestic as the real scene?--and hear him uttering--as his
mystical and religious soul surely utter'd, the ideas following--perhaps,
in their equivalents, the very words.
A BATTER'D, wreck'd old man,
Thrown on this savage shore, far, far from home,
Pent by the sea, and dark rebellious brows, twelve dreary months,
Sore, stiff with many toils, sicken'd, and nigh to death,
I take my way along the island's edge,
Venting a heavy heart.
I am too full of woe!
Haply, I may not live another day;
I can not rest, O God--I can not eat or drink or sleep,
Till I put forth myself, my prayer, once more to Thee, 10
Breathe, bathe myself once more in Thee--commune with Thee,
Report myself once more to Thee.
Thou knowest my years entire, my life,
(My long and crowded life of active work--not adoration merely;)
Thou knowest the prayers and vigils of my youth;
Thou knowest my manhood's solemn and visionary meditations;
Thou knowest how, before I commenced, I devoted all to come to Thee;
Thou knowest I have in age ratified all those vows, and strictly kept
Thou knowest I have not once lost nor faith nor ecstasy in Thee;
(In shackles, prison'd, in disgrace, repining not, 20
Accepting all from Thee--as duly come from Thee.)
All my emprises have been fill'd with Thee,
My speculations, plans, begun and carried on in thoughts of Thee,
Sailing the deep, or journeying the land for Thee;
Intentions, purports, aspirations mine--leaving results to Thee.
O I am sure they really come from Thee!
The urge, the ardor, the unconquerable will,
The potent, felt, interior command, stronger than words,
A message from the Heavens, whispering to me even in sleep,
These sped me on. 30
By me, and these, the work so far accomplish'd (for what has been,
By me Earth's elder, cloy'd and stifled lands, uncloy'd, unloos'd;
By me the hemispheres rounded and tied--the unknown to the known.
The end I know not--it is all in Thee;
Or small, or great, I know not--haply, what broad fields, what lands;
Haply, the brutish, measureless human undergrowth I know,
Transplanted there, may rise to stature, knowledge worthy Thee;
Haply the swords I know may there indeed be turn'd to reaping-tools;
Haply the lifeless cross I know--Europe's dead cross--may bud and
One effort more--my altar this bleak sand: 40
That Thou, O God, my life hast lighted,
With ray of light, steady, ineffable, vouchsafed of Thee,
(Light rare, untellable--lighting the very light!
Beyond all signs, descriptions, languages!)
For that, O God--be it my latest word--here on my knees,
Old, poor, and paralyzed--I thank Thee.
My terminus near,
The clouds already closing in upon me,
The voyage balk'd--the course disputed, lost,
I yield my ships to Thee. 50
Steersman unseen! henceforth the helms are Thine;
Take Thou command--(what to my petty skill Thy navigation?)
My hands, my limbs grow nerveless;
My brain feels rack'd, bewilder'd; Let the old timbers part--I will
I will cling fast to Thee, O God, though the waves buffet me;
Thee, Thee, at least, I know.
Is it the prophet's thought I speak, or am I raving?
What do I know of life? what of myself?
I know not even my own work, past or present; 60
Dim, ever-shifting guesses of it spread before me,
Of newer, better worlds, their mighty parturition,
Mocking, perplexing me.
And these things I see suddenly--what mean they?
As if some miracle, some hand divine unseal'd my eyes,
Shadowy, vast shapes, smile through the air and sky,
And on the distant waves sail countless ships,
And anthems in new tongues I hear saluting me.
Read more: work poems, beach poems, sleep poems, god poems, lost poems, home poems, poem poems, sea poems, light poems, sick poems, death poems, faith poems, life poems, smile poems, dark poems, sky poems, thanks poems, rose poems, running poems