Best Poems From
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
Years Of The Modern
YEARS of the modern! years of the unperform'd!
Your horizon rises--I see it parting away for more august dramas;
I see not America only--I see not only Liberty's nation, but other
I see tremendous entrances and exits--I see new combinations--I see
the solidarity of races;
I see that force advancing with irresistible power on the world's
(Have the old forces, the old wars, played their parts? are the acts
suitable to them closed?)
I see Freedom, completely arm'd, and victorious, and very haughty,
with Law on one side, and Peace on the other,
A stupendous Trio, all issuing forth against the idea of caste;
--What historic denouements are these we so rapidly approach?
I see men marching and countermarching by swift millions; 10
I see the frontiers and boundaries of the old aristocracies broken;
I see the landmarks of European kings removed;
I see this day the People beginning their landmarks, (all others give
--Never were such sharp questions ask'd as this day;
Never was average man, his soul, more energetic, more like a God;
Lo! how he urges and urges, leaving the masses no rest;
His daring foot is on land and sea everywhere--he colonizes the
Pacific, the archipelagoes;
With the steam-ship, the electric telegraph, the newspaper, the
wholesale engines of war,
With these, and the world-spreading factories, he interlinks all
geography, all lands;
--What whispers are these, O lands, running ahead of you, passing
under the seas? 20
Are all nations communing? is there going to be but one heart to the
Is humanity forming, en-masse?--for lo! tyrants tremble, crowns grow
The earth, restive, confronts a new era, perhaps a general divine
No one knows what will happen next--such portents fill the days and
Years prophetical! the space ahead as I walk, as I vainly try to
pierce it, is full of phantoms;
Unborn deeds, things soon to be, project their shapes around me;
This incredible rush and heat--this strange extatic fever of dreams,
Your dreams, O year, how they penetrate through me! (I know not
whether I sleep or wake!)
The perform'd America and Europe grow dim, retiring in shadow behind
The unperform'd, more gigantic than ever, advance, advance upon
Read more: america poems, august poems, war poems, running poems, freedom poems, power poems, peace poems, sleep poems, world poems, people poems, sea poems, rose poems, dream poems
O MATER! O fils!
O brood continental!
O flowers of the prairies!
O space boundless! O hum of mighty products!
O you teeming cities! O so invincible, turbulent, proud!
O race of the future! O women!
O fathers! O you men of passion and the storm!
O native power only! O beauty!
O yourself! O God! O divine average!
O you bearded roughs! O bards! O all those slumberers! 10
O arouse! the dawn bird's throat sounds shrill! Do you not hear the
O, as I walk'd the beach, I heard the mournful notes foreboding a
tempest--the low, oft-repeated shriek of the diver, the long-
O I heard, and yet hear, angry thunder;--O you sailors! O ships! make
O from his masterful sweep, the warning cry of the eagle!
(Give way there, all! It is useless! Give up your spoils;)
O sarcasms! Propositions! (O if the whole world should prove indeed a
sham, a sell!)
O I believe there is nothing real but America and freedom!
O to sternly reject all except Democracy!
O imperator! O who dare confront you and me?
O to promulgate our own! O to build for that which builds for
O feuillage! O North! O the slope drained by the Mexican sea!
O all, all inseparable--ages, ages, ages!
O a curse on him that would dissever this Union for any reason
O climates, labors! O good and evil! O death!
O you strong with iron and wood! O Personality!
O the village or place which has the greatest man or woman! even if
it be only a few ragged huts;
O the city where women walk in public processions in the streets, the
same as the men;
O a wan and terrible emblem, by me adopted!
O shapes arising! shapes of the future centuries!
O muscle and pluck forever for me! 30
O workmen and workwomen forever for me!
O farmers and sailors! O drivers of horses forever for me!
O I will make the new bardic list of trades and tools!
O you coarse and wilful! I love you!
O South! O longings for my dear home! O soft and sunny airs!
O pensive! O I must return where the palm grows and the mocking-bird
sings, or else I die!
O equality! O organic compacts! I am come to be your born poet!
O whirl, contest, sounding and resounding! I am your poet, because I
am part of you;
O days by-gone! Enthusiasts! Antecedents!
O vast preparations for These States! O years! 40
O what is now being sent forward thousands of years to come!
O mediums! O to teach! to convey the invisible faith!
To promulge real things! to journey through all The States!
O creation! O to-day! O laws! O unmitigated adoration!
O for mightier broods of orators, artists, and singers!
O for native songs! carpenter's, boatman's, ploughman's songs!
O haughtiest growth of time! O free and extatic!
O what I, here, preparing, warble for!
O you hastening light! O the sun of the world will ascend, dazzling,
and take his height--and you too will ascend;
O so amazing and so broad! up there resplendent, darting and
O prophetic! O vision staggered with weight of light! with pouring
O copious! O hitherto unequalled!
O Libertad! O compact! O union impossible to dissever!
O my Soul! O lips becoming tremulous, powerless!
O centuries, centuries yet ahead!
O voices of greater orators! I pause--I listen for you
O you States! Cities! defiant of all outside authority! I spring at
once into your arms! you I most love!
O you grand Presidentiads! I wait for you!
New history! New heroes! I project you!
Visions of poets! only you really last! O sweep on! sweep on! 60
O Death! O you striding there! O I cannot yet!
O heights! O infinitely too swift and dizzy yet!
O purged lumine! you threaten me more than I can stand!
O present! I return while yet I may to you!
O poets to come, I depend upon you!
Read more: women poems, future poems, warning poems, beach poems, history poems, journey poems, death poems, freedom poems, evil poems, city poems, passion poems, believe poems, faith poems, light poems, woman poems, spring poems, power poems, beauty poems, home poems, sea poems
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 MET a Seer,
Passing the hues and objects of the world,
The fields of art and learning, pleasure, sense,
To glean Eidólons.
Put in thy chants, said he,
No more the puzzling hour, nor day--nor segments, parts, put in,
Put first before the rest, as light for all, and entrance-song of
That of Eidólons.
Ever the dim beginning;
Ever the growth, the rounding of the circle; 10
Ever the summit, and the merge at last, (to surely start again,)
Ever the mutable!
Ever materials, changing, crumbling, re-cohering;
Ever the ateliers, the factories divine,
Lo! I or you!
Or woman, man, or State, known or unknown,
We seeming solid wealth, strength, beauty build,
But really build Eidólons. 20
The ostent evanescent;
The substance of an artist's mood, or savan's studies long,
Or warrior's, martyr's, hero's toils,
To fashion his Eidólon.
Of every human life,
(The units gather'd, posted--not a thought, emotion, deed, left out;)
The whole, or large or small, summ'd, added up,
In its Eidólon.
The old, old urge;
Based on the ancient pinnacles, lo! newer, higher pinnacles; 30
From Science and the Modern still impell'd,
The old, old urge, Eidólons.
The present, now and here,
America's busy, teeming, intricate whirl,
Of aggregate and segregate, for only thence releasing,
These, with the past,
Of vanish'd lands--of all the reigns of kings across the sea,
Old conquerors, old campaigns, old sailors' voyages,
Joining Eidólons. 40
Densities, growth, façades,
Strata of mountains, soils, rocks, giant trees,
Far-born, far-dying, living long, to leave,
Exaltè, rapt, extatic,
The visible but their womb of birth,
Of orbic tendencies to shape, and shape, and shape,
The mighty Earth-Eidólon.
All space, all time,
(The stars, the terrible perturbations of the suns, 50
Swelling, collapsing, ending--serving their longer, shorter use,)
Fill'd with Eidólons only.
The noiseless myriads!
The infinite oceans where the rivers empty!
The separate, countless free identities, like eyesight;
The true realities, Eidólons.
Not this the World,
Nor these the Universes--they the Universes,
Purport and end--ever the permanent life of life,
Eidólons, Eidólons. 60
Beyond thy lectures, learn'd professor,
Beyond thy telescope or spectroscope, observer keen--beyond all
Beyond the doctor's surgery, anatomy--beyond the chemist with his
The entities of entities, Eidólons.
Unfix'd, yet fix'd;
Ever shall be--ever have been, and are,
Sweeping the present to the infinite future,
Eidólons, Eidólons, Eidólons.
The prophet and the bard,
Shall yet maintain themselves--in higher stages yet, 70
Shall mediate to the Modern, to Democracy--interpret yet to them,
God, and Eidólons.
And thee, My Soul!
Joys, ceaseless exercises, exaltations!
Thy yearning amply fed at last, prepared to meet,
Thy mates, Eidólons.
Thy Body permanent,
The Body lurking there within thy Body,
The only purport of the Form thou art--the real I myself,
An image, an Eidólon. 80
Thy very songs, not in thy songs;
No special strains to sing--none for itself;
But from the whole resulting, rising at last and floating,
A round, full-orb'd Eidólon.
Read more: america poems, hero poems, birth poems, future poems, strength poems, woman poems, song poems, world poems, beauty poems, sea poems, light poems, river poems, rose poems, change poems, star poems, women poems, tree poems