YEAR of meteors! brooding year! I would bind in words retrospective, some of your deeds and signs; I would sing your contest for the 19th Presidentiad; I would sing how an old man, tall, with white hair, mounted the scaffold in Virginia; (I was at handâ€”silent I stood, with teeth shut closeâ€”I watchâ€™d; I stood very near you, old man, when cool and indifferent, but trembling with age and your unhealâ€™d wounds, you mounted the scaffold;) â€”I would sing in my copious song your census returns of The States, The tables of population and productsâ€”I would sing of your ships and their cargoes, The proud black ships of Manhattan, arriving, some fillâ€™d with immigrants, some from the isthmus with cargoes of gold; Songs thereof would I singâ€”to all that hitherward comes would I welcome give; And you would I sing, fair stripling! welcome to you from me, sweet boy of England! Remember you surging Manhattanâ€™s crowds, as you passâ€™d with your cortege of nobles? There in the crowds stood I, and singled you out with attachment; I know not why, but I loved you... (and so go forth little song, Far over sea speed like an arrow, carrying my love all folded, And find in his palace the youth I love, and drop these lines at his feet;) â€”Nor forget I to sing of the wonder, the ship as she swam up my bay, Well-shaped and stately the Great Eastern swam up my bay, she was 600 feet long, Her, moving swiftly, surrounded by myriads of small craft, I forget not to sing; â€”Nor the comet that came unannounced out of the north, flaring in heaven; Nor the strange huge meteor procession, dazzling and clear, shooting over our heads, (A moment, a moment long, it sailâ€™d its balls of unearthly light over our heads, Then departed, dropt in the night, and was gone;) â€”Of such, and fitful as they, I singâ€”with gleams from them would I gleam and patch these chants; Your chants, O year all mottled with evil and good! year of forebodings! year of the youth I love! Year of comets and meteors transient and strange!â€”lo! even here, one equally transient and strange! As I flit through you hastily, soon to fall and be gone, what is this book, What am I myself but one of your meteors?