1 AFTER all, not to create only, or found only, But to bring, perhaps from afar, what is already founded, To give it our own identity, average, limitless, free; To fill the gross, the torpid bulk with vital religious fire; Not to repel or destroy, so much as accept, fuse, rehabilitate; To obey, as well as commandâ€”to follow, more than to lead; These also are the lessons of our New World; â€”While how little the New, after allâ€”how much the Old, Old World!
Long, long, long, has the grass been growing, Long and long has the rain been falling, Long has the globe been rolling round.
2 Come, Muse, migrate from Greece and Ionia; Cross out, please, those immensely overpaid accounts, That matter of Troy, and Achillesâ€™ wrath, and Eneasâ€™, Odysseusâ€™ wanderings; Placard Ã¢â‚¬Å“RemovedÃ¢â‚¬Â and Ã¢â‚¬Å“To LetÃ¢â‚¬Â on the rocks of your snowy Parnassus; Repeat at Jerusalemâ€”place the notice high on Jaffaâ€™s gate, and on Mount Moriah; The same on the walls of your Gothic European Cathedrals, and German, French and Spanish Castles; For know a better, fresher, busier sphereâ€”a wide, untried domain awaits, demands you.
3 Responsive to our summons, Or rather to her long-nursâ€™d inclination, Joinâ€™d with an irresistible, natural gravitation,
She comes! this famous Femaleâ€”as was indeed to be expected; (For who, so-ever youthful, â€™cute and handsome, would wish to stay in mansions such as those,
When offerâ€™d quarters with all the modern improvements, With all the fun that â€™s goingâ€”and all the best society?)
She comes! I hear the rustling of her gown; I scent the odor of her breathâ€™s delicious fragrance; I mark her step divineâ€”her curious eyes a-turning, rolling, Upon this very scene.
The Dame of Dames! can I believe, then, Those ancient temples classic, and castles strong and feudalistic, could none of them restrain her? Nor shades of Virgil and Danteâ€”nor myriad memories, poems, old associations, magnetize and hold on to her? But that she â€™s left them allâ€”and here?
Yes, if you will allow me to say so, I, my friends, if you do not, can plainly see Her, The same Undying Soul of Earthâ€™s, activityâ€™s, beautyâ€™s, heroismâ€™s Expression, Out from her evolutions hither comeâ€”submerged the strata of her former themes, Hidden and coverâ€™d by to-dayâ€™sâ€”foundation of to-dayâ€™s; Ended, deceasâ€™d, through time, her voice by Castalyâ€™s fountain; Silent through time the broken-lippâ€™d Sphynx in Egyptâ€”silent those century-baffling tombs;
Closed for aye the epics of Asiaâ€™s, Europeâ€™s helmeted warriors; Calliopeâ€™s call for ever closedâ€”Clio, Melpomene, Thalia closed and dead; Sealâ€™d the stately rhythmus of Una and Orianaâ€”ended the quest of the Holy Graal; Jerusalem a handful of ashes blown by the windâ€”extinct; The Crusadersâ€™ streams of shadowy, midnight troops, sped with the sunrise; Amadis, Tancred, utterly goneâ€”Charlemagne, Roland, Oliver gone, Palmerin, ogre, departedâ€”vanishâ€™d the turrets that Usk reflected, Arthur vanishâ€™d with all his knightsâ€”Merlin and Lancelot and Galahadâ€”all goneâ€”dissolvâ€™d utterly, like an exhalation; Passâ€™d! passâ€™d! for us, for ever passâ€™d! that once so mighty Worldâ€”now void, inanimate, phantom World!
Embroiderâ€™d, dazzling World! with all its gorgeous legends, myths, Its kings and barons proudâ€”its priests, and warlike lords, and courtly dames; Passâ€™d to its charnel vaultâ€”laid on the shelfâ€”coffinâ€™d, with Crown and Armor on, Blazonâ€™d with Shakspeareâ€™s purple page, And dirged by Tennysonâ€™s sweet sad rhyme.
4 But holdâ€”donâ€™t I forget my manners? To introduce the Stranger (what else indeed have I come for?) to thee, Columbia: In Libertyâ€™s name, welcome, Immortal! clasp hands, And ever henceforth Sisters dear be both.
Fear not, O Muse! truly new ways and days receive, surround you, (I candidly confess, a queer, queer race, of novel fashion,) And yet the same old human raceâ€”the same within, without, Faces and hearts the sameâ€”feelings the sameâ€”yearnings the same, The same old loveâ€”beauty and use the same.
5 We do not blame thee, Elder Worldâ€”nor separate ourselves from thee: (Would the Son separate himself from the Father?) Looking back on theeâ€”seeing thee to thy duties, grandeurs, through past ages bending, building, We build to ours to-day.
Mightier than Egyptâ€™s tombs, Fairer than Greciaâ€™s, Romaâ€™s temples, Prouder than Milanâ€™s statued, spired Cathedral, More picturesque than Rhenish castle-keeps, We plan, even now, to raise, beyond them all, Thy great Cathedral, sacred Industryâ€”no tomb, A Keep for life for practical Invention.
As in a waking vision, Eâ€™en while I chant, I see it riseâ€”I scan and prophesy outside and in, Its manifold ensemble.
6 Around a Palace, Loftier, fairer, ampler than any yet, Earthâ€™s modern Wonder, Historyâ€™s Seven outstripping, High rising tier on tier, with glass and iron faÃƒÂ§ades.
Gladdening the sun and skyâ€”enhued in cheerfulest hues, Bronze, lilac, robinâ€™s-egg, marine and crimson, Over whose golden roof shall flaunt, beneath thy banner, Freedom, The banners of The States, the flags of every land, A brood of lofty, fair, but lesser Palaces shall cluster.
Somewhere within the walls of all, Shall all that forwards perfect human life be started, Tried, taught, advanced, visibly exhibited.
Here shall you trace in flowing operation, In every state of practical, busy movement, The rills of Civilization.
Materials here, under your eye, shall change their shape, as if by magic; The cotton shall be pickâ€™d almost in the very field, Shall be dried, cleanâ€™d, ginnâ€™d, baled, spun into thread and cloth, before you: You shall see hands at work at all the old processes, and all the new ones; You shall see the various grains, and how flour is made, and then bread baked by the bakers; You shall see the crude ores of California and Nevada passing on and on till they become bullion; You shall watch how the printer sets type, and learn what a composing stick is; You shall mark, in amazement, the Hoe press whirling its cylinders, shedding the printed leaves steady and fast: The photograph, model, watch, pin, nail, shall be created before you.
In large calm halls, a stately Museum shall teach you the infinite, solemn lessons of Minerals;
In another, woods, plants, Vegetation shall be illustratedâ€”in another Animals, animal life and development.
One stately house shall be the Music House; Others for other Artsâ€”Learning, the Sciences, shall all be here; None shall be slightedâ€”none but shall here be honorâ€™d, helpâ€™d, exampled.
7 This, this and these, America, shall be your Pyramids and Obelisks, Your Alexandrian Pharos, gardens of Babylon, Your temple at Olympia.
The male and female many laboring not, Shall ever here confront the laboring many, With precious benefits to bothâ€”glory to all, To thee, Americaâ€”and thee, Eternal Muse.
And here shall ye inhabit, Powerful Matrons! In your vast state, vaster than all the old; Echoed through long, long centuries to come, To sound of different, prouder songs, with stronger themes, Practical, peaceful lifeâ€”the peopleâ€™s lifeâ€”the People themselves, Lifted, illuminâ€™d, bathed in peaceâ€”elate, secure in peace.
8 Away with themes of war! away with War itself! Hence from my shuddering sight, to never more return, that show of blackenâ€™d, mutilated corpses! That hell unpent, and raid of bloodâ€”fit for wild tigers, or for lop-tongued wolvesâ€”not reasoning men! And in its stead speed Industryâ€™s campaigns! With thy undaunted armies, Engineering! Thy pennants, Labor, loosenâ€™d to the breeze! Thy bugles sounding loud and clear!
Away with old romance! Away with novels, plots, and plays of foreign courts! Away with love-verses, sugarâ€™d in rhymeâ€”the intrigues, amours of idlers, Fitted for only banquets of the night, where dancers to late music slide; The unhealthy pleasures, extravagant dissipations of the few, With perfumes, heat and wine, beneath the dazzling chandeliers.
9 To you, ye Reverent, sane Sisters, To this resplendent day, the present scene, These eyes and ears that like some broad parterre bloom up around, before me, I raise a voice for far superber themes for poets and for Art, To exalt the present and the real, To teach the average man the glory of his daily walk and trade, To sing, in songs, how exercise and chemical life are never to be baffled; Boldly to thee, America, to-day! and thee, Immortal Muse! To practical, manual work, for each and allâ€”to plough, hoe, dig, To plant and tend the tree, the berry, the vegetables, flowers, For every man to see to it that he really do somethingâ€”for every woman too; To use the hammer, and the saw, (rip or cross-cut,) To cultivate a turn for carpentering, plastering, painting, To work as tailor, tailoress, nurse, hostler, porter, To invent a littleâ€”something ingeniousâ€”to aid the washing, cooking, cleaning, And hold it no disgrace to take a hand at them themselves.
I say I bring thee, Muse, to-day and here, All occupations, duties broad and close, Toil, healthy toil and sweat, endless, without cessation, The old, old general burdens, interests, joys, The family, parentage, childhood, husband and wife, The house-comfortsâ€”the house itself, and all its belongings, Food and its preservationsâ€”chemistry applied to it; Whatever forms the average, strong, complete, sweet-blooded Man or Womanâ€”the perfect, longeve Personality, And helps its present life to health and happinessâ€”and shapes its Soul, For the eternal Real Life to come.
With latest materials, works, Steam-power, the great Express lines, gas, petroleum, These triumphs of our time, the Atlanticâ€™s delicate cable, The Pacific Railroad, the Suez canal, the Mont Cenis tunnel; Science advanced, in grandeur and reality, analyzing every thing, This world all spannâ€™d with iron railsâ€”with lines of steamships threading every sea, Our own Rondure, the current globe I bring.
10 And thou, high-towering Oneâ€”America! Thy swarm of offspring towering highâ€”yet higher thee, above all towering, With Victory on thy left, and at thy right hand Law; Thou Union, holding allâ€”fusing, absorbing, tolerating all, Thee, ever thee, I bring.
Thouâ€”also thou, a world! With all thy wide geographies, manifold, different, distant, Rounding by thee in Oneâ€”one common orbic language, One common indivisible destiny and Union.
11 And by the spells which ye vouchsafe, To those, your ministers in earnest, I here personify and call my themes, To make them pass before ye.
Behold, America! (And thou, ineffable Guest and Sister!) For thee come trooping up thy waters and thy lands: Behold! thy fields and farms, thy far-off woods and mountains, As in procession coming.
Behold! the sea itself! And on its limitless, heaving breast, thy ships: See! where their white sails, bellying in the wind, speckle the green and blue! See! thy steamers coming and going, steaming in or out of port! See! dusky and undulating, their long pennants of smoke!
Behold, in Oregon, far in the north and west, Or in Maine, far in the north and east, thy cheerful axemen, Wielding all day their axes!
Behold, on the lakes, thy pilots at their wheelsâ€”thy oarsmen! Behold how the ash writhes under those muscular arms!
There by the furnace, and there by the anvil, Behold thy sturdy blacksmiths, swinging their sledges; Overhand so steadyâ€”overhand they turn and fall, with joyous clank, Like a tumult of laughter.
Behold! (for still the procession moves,) Behold, Mother of All, thy countless sailors, boatmen, coasters! The myriads of thy young and old mechanics! Markâ€”mark the spirit of invention everywhereâ€”thy rapid patents, Thy continual workshops, foundries, risen or rising; See, from their chimneys, how the tall flame-fires stream!
Mark, thy interminable farms, North, South, Thy wealthy Daughter-States, Eastern, and Western, The varied products of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Georgia, Texas, and the rest; Thy limitless cropsâ€”grass, wheat, sugar, corn, rice, hemp, hops, Thy barns all fillâ€™dâ€”thy endless freight-trains, and thy bulging store-houses, The grapes that ripen on thy vinesâ€”the apples in thy orchards, Thy incalculable lumber, beef, pork, potatoesâ€”thy coalâ€”thy gold and silver, The inexhaustible iron in thy mines.
12 All thine, O sacred Union! Ship, farm, shop, barns, factories, mines, City and Stateâ€”North, South, item and aggregate, We dedicate, dread Mother, all to thee!
Protectress absolute, thou! Bulwark of all! For well we know that while thou givest each and all, (generous as God,) Without thee, neither all nor each, nor land, home, Ship, nor mineâ€”nor any here, this day, secure, Nor aught, nor any day secure.
13 And thou, thy Emblem, waving over all! Delicate beauty! a word to thee, (it may be salutary;) Remember, thou hast not always been, as here to-day, so comfortably ensovereignâ€™d; In other scenes than these have I observâ€™d thee, flag; Not quite so trim and whole, and freshly blooming, in folds of stainless silk; But I have seen thee, bunting, to tatters torn, upon thy splinterâ€™d staff, Or clutchâ€™d to some young color-bearerâ€™s breast, with desperate hands, Savagely struggled for, for life or deathâ€”fought over long, â€™Mid cannonâ€™s thunder-crash, and many a curse, and groan and yellâ€”and rifle-volleys cracking sharp, And moving masses, as wild demons surgingâ€”and lives as nothing riskâ€™d, For thy mere remnant, grimed with dirt and smoke, and soppâ€™d in blood; For sake of that, my beautyâ€”and that thou mightâ€™st dally, as now, secure up there, Many a good man have I seen go under.
14 Now here, and these, and hence, in peace all thine, O Flag! And here, and hence, for thee, O universal Muse! and thou for them! And here and hence, O Union, all the work and workmen thine! The poets, women, sailors, soldiers, farmers, miners, students thine! None separate from Theeâ€”henceforth one only, we and Thou; (For the blood of the childrenâ€”what is it only the blood Maternal? And lives and worksâ€”what are they all at last except the roads to Faith and Death?)
While we rehearse our measureless wealth, it is for thee, dear Mother! We own it all and several to-day indissoluble in Thee; â€”Think not our chant, our show, merely for products gross, or lucreâ€”it is for Thee, the Soul, electric, spiritual! Our farms, inventions, crops, we own in Thee! Cities and States in Thee! Our freedom all in Thee! our very lives in Thee!