1 AS a strong bird on pinions free, Joyous, the amplest spaces heavenward cleaving, Such be the thought Iâ€™d think to-day of thee, America, Such be the recitative Iâ€™d bring to-day for thee.
The conceits of the poets of other lands I bring thee not, Nor the compliments that have served their turn so long, Nor rhymeâ€”nor the classicsâ€”nor perfume of foreign court, or indoor library; But an odor Iâ€™d bring to-day as from forests of pine in the north, in Maineâ€”or breath of an Illinois prairie, With open airs of Virginia, or Georgia, or Tennesseeâ€”or from Texas uplands, or Floridaâ€™s glades, With presentment of Yellowstoneâ€™s scenes, or Yosemite; And murmuring under, pervading all, Iâ€™d bring the rustling sea-sound, That endlessly sounds from the two great seas of the world.
And for thy subtler sense, subtler refrains, O Union! Preludes of intellect tallying these and theeâ€”mind-formulas fitted for theeâ€”real, and sane, and large as these and thee; Thou, mounting higher, diving deeper than we knewâ€”thou transcendental Union! By thee Fact to be justifiedâ€”blended with Thought; Thought of Man justifiedâ€”blended with God: Through thy Ideaâ€”lo! the immortal Reality! Through thy Realityâ€”lo! the immortal Idea!
2 Brain of the New World! what a task is thine! To formulate the Modern.....Out of the peerless grandeur of the modern, Out of Thyselfâ€”comprising Scienceâ€”to recast Poems, Churches, Art, (Recastâ€”may-be discard them, end themâ€”May-be their work is doneâ€”who knows?)
By vision, hand, conception, on the background of the mighty past, the dead, To limn, with absolute faith, the mighty living present.
(And yet, thou living, present brain! heir of the dead, the Old World brain! Thou that lay folded, like an unborn babe, within its folds so long! Thou carefully prepared by it so long!â€”haply thou but unfoldest itâ€”only maturest it; It to eventuate in theeâ€”the essence of the by-gone time containâ€™d in thee; Its poems, churches, arts, unwitting to themselves, destined with reference to thee, The fruit of all the Old, ripening to-day in thee.)
4 Beautiful World of new, superber Birth, that rises to my eyes, Like a limitless golden cloud, filling the western sky; Emblem of general Maternity, lifted above all; Sacred shape of the bearer of daughters and sons; Out of thy teeming womb, thy giant babes in ceaseless procession issuing, Acceding from such gestation, taking and giving continual strength and life; World of the Real! world of the twain in one! World of the Soulâ€”born by the world of the real aloneâ€”led to identity, body, by it alone; Yet in beginning onlyâ€”incalculable masses of composite, precious materials, By historyâ€™s cycles forwardedâ€”by every nation, language, hither sent, Ready, collected hereâ€”a freer, vast, electric World, to be constructed here, (The true New Worldâ€”the world of orbic Science, Morals, Literatures to come,) Thou Wonder World, yet undefined, unformâ€™dâ€”neither do I define thee; How can I pierce the impenetrable blank of the future? I feel thy ominous greatness, evil as well as good; I watch thee, advancing, absorbing the present, transcending the past; I see thy light lighting and thy shadow shadowing, as if the entire globe; But I do not undertake to define theeâ€”hardly to comprehend thee; I but thee nameâ€”thee prophecyâ€”as now! I merely thee ejaculate!
Thee in thy future; Thee in thy only permanent life, careerâ€”thy own unloosenâ€™d mindâ€”thy soaring spirit; Thee as another equally needed sun, Americaâ€”radiant, ablaze, swift-moving, fructifying all; Thee! risen in thy potent cheerfulness and joyâ€”thy endless, great hilarity! (Scattering for good the cloud that hung so longâ€”that weighâ€™d so long upon the mind of man, The doubt, suspicion, dread, of gradual, certain decadence of man;) Thee in thy larger, saner breeds of Female, Maleâ€”thee in thy athletes, moral, spiritual, South, North, West, East, (To thy immortal breasts, Mother of All, thy every daughter, son, endearâ€™d alike, forever equal;) Thee in thy own musicians, singers, artists, unborn yet, but certain; Thee in thy moral wealth and civilization (until which thy proudest material wealth and civilization must remain in vain;) Thee in thy all-supplying, all-enclosing Worshipâ€”thee in no single bible, saviour, merely,
Thy saviours countless, latent within thyselfâ€”thy bibles incessant, within thyself, equal to any, divine as any; Thee in an education grown of theeâ€”in teachers, studies, students, born of thee; Thee in thy democratic fetes, en masseâ€”thy high original festivals, operas, lecturers, preachers; Thee in thy ultimata, (the preparations only now completedâ€”the edifice on sure foundations tied,) Thee in thy pinnacles, intellect, thoughtâ€”thy topmost rational joysâ€”thy love, and godlike aspiration, In thy resplendent coming literatiâ€”thy full-lungâ€™d oratorsâ€”thy sacerdotal bardsâ€”kosmic savans, These! these in thee, (certain to come,) to-day I prophecy.
5 Land tolerating allâ€”accepting allâ€”not for the good aloneâ€”all good for thee;
Land in the realms of God to be a realm unto thyself; Under the rule of God to be a rule unto thyself.
(Lo! where arise three peerless stars, To be thy natal stars, my countryâ€”Ensembleâ€”Evolutionâ€”Freedom, Set in the sky of Law.)
Land of unprecedented faithâ€”Godâ€™s faith! Thy soil, thy very subsoil, all upheavâ€™d; The general inner earth, so long, so sedulously draped over, now and hence for what it is, boldly laid bare, Openâ€™d by thee to heavenâ€™s light, for benefit or bale.
Not for success alone; Not to fair-sail unintermitted always; The storm shall dash thy faceâ€”the murk of war, and worse than war, shall cover thee all over; (Wert capable of warâ€”its tug and trials? Be capable of peace, its trials; For the tug and mortal strain of nations come at last in peaceâ€”not war;) In many a smiling mask death shall approach, beguiling theeâ€”thou in disease shalt swelter;
The livid cancer spread its hideous claws, clinging upon thy breasts, seeking to strike thee deep within; Consumption of the worstâ€”moral consumptionâ€”shall rouge thy face with hectic: But thou shalt face thy fortunes, thy diseases, and surmount them all, Whatever they are to-day, and whatever through time they may be, They each and all shall lift, and pass away, and cease from thee; While thou, Timeâ€™s spirals roundingâ€”out of thyself, thyself still extricating, fusing, Equable, natural, mystical Union thouâ€”(the mortal with immortal blent,) Shalt soar toward the fulfilment of the futureâ€”the spirit of the body and the mind, The Soulâ€”its destinies.
The Soul, its destiniesâ€”the real real, (Purport of all these apparitions of the real;) In thee, America, the Soul, its destinies; Thou globe of globes! thou wonder nebulous! By many a throe of heat and cold convulsâ€™dâ€”(by these thyself solidifying;) Thou mental, moral orb! thou New, indeed new, Spiritual World! The Present holds thee notâ€”for such vast growth as thineâ€”for such unparallelâ€™d flight as thine, The Future only holds thee, and can hold thee.