YEARS of the modern! years of the unperformâ€™d! Your horizon risesâ€”I see it parting away for more august dramas; I see not America onlyâ€”I see not only Libertyâ€™s nation, but other nations preparing; I see tremendous entrances and exitsâ€”I see new combinationsâ€”I see the solidarity of races; I see that force advancing with irresistible power on the worldâ€™s stage; (Have the old forces, the old wars, played their parts? are the acts suitable to them closed?) I see Freedom, completely armâ€™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; â€”What historic denouements are these we so rapidly approach? I see men marching and countermarching by swift millions; 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 way;) â€”Never were such sharp questions askâ€™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 everywhereâ€”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; â€”What whispers are these, O lands, running ahead of you, passing under the seas? Are all nations communing? is there going to be but one heart to the globe? Is humanity forming, en-masse?â€”for lo! tyrants tremble, crowns grow dim; The earth, restive, confronts a new era, perhaps a general divine war; No one knows what will happen nextâ€”such portents fill the days and nights; 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 heatâ€”this strange extatic fever of dreams, O years! Your dreams, O year, how they penetrate through me! (I know not whether I sleep or wake!) The performâ€™d America and Europe grow dim, retiring in shadow behind me, The unperformâ€™d, more gigantic than ever, advance, advance upon me.