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Because I could not stop for Death
Because I could not stop for Death
He kindly stopped for me
The Carriage held but just Ourselves
And Immortality.
We slowly drove He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility


the School, where Children strove

in the Ring
the Fields of Gazing Grain
the Setting Sun

Or rather He passed us
The Dews drew quivering and chill
For only Gossamer, my Gown
My Tippet only Tulle
We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground
The Roof was scarcely visible
The Cornice in the Ground
Since then tis Centuries and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses Heads
Were toward Eternity

I'm nobody! Who are you?

I'm nobody! Who are you?

Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us -- don't tell!
They'd advertise -- you know!

I thought if I could only live

Till that first Shout got by
Not all Pianos in the Woods
Had power to mangle me
I dared not meet the Daffodils
For fear their Yellow Gown
Would pierce me with a fashion
So foreign to my own
I wished the Grass would hurry
Sowhen 'twas time to see
He'd be too tall, the tallest one
Could stretchto look at me
I could not bear the Bees should come,
I wished they'd stay away
In those dim countries where they go,
What word had they, for me?
They're here, though; not a creature failed
No Blossom stayed away
In gentle deference to me
The Queen of Calvary
Each one salutes me, as he goes,
And I, my childish Plumes,
Lift, in bereaved acknowledgement
Of their unthinking Drums

I had no time to hate, because

I had no time to hate, because
The grave would hinder me,
And life was not so ample I
Could finish enmity.

Nor had I time to love, but since

Some industry must be,
The little toil of love, I thought,
Was large enough for me.

How dreary to be somebody!

How public like a frog
To tell one's name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

A little road not made of man

I dreaded that first Robin

A little road not made of man,

Enabled of the eye,
Accessible to thill of bee,
Or cart of butterfly.

I dreaded that first Robin, so,

But He is mastered, now,
I'm some accustomed to Him grown,
He hurts a little, though

If town it have, beyond itself,

'T is that I cannot say;

I only sigh,--no vehicle
Bears me along that way.

I wonder if when Years have piled

Some Thousands on the Harm
That hurt them early such a lapse
Could give them any Balm

Much Madness is divinest Sense

Or would they go on aching still

Through Centuries of Nerve
Enlightened to a larger Pain
In Contrast with the Love

Much Madness is divinest Sense To a discerning Eye Much Sense - the starkest Madness Tis the Majority
In this, as all, prevail Assent - and you are sane Demur - youre straightway dangerous And handled with a Chain -

The Grieved are many I am told

There is the various Cause
Death is but one and comes but once
And only nails the eyes

Hope is the thing with feathers

Theres Grief of Want and grief of Cold

A sort they call Despair
Theres Banishment from native Eyes
In sight of Native Air

Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And though I may not guess the kind

Correctly yet to me
A piercing Comfort it affords
In passing Calvary

And sweetest in the gale is heard;

And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

To note the fashions of the Cross

And how theyre mostly worn
Still fascinated to presume
That Some are like my own

I've heard it in the chillest land,

And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

The Soul unto itself

I measure every Grief I meet

I measure every Grief I meet

With narrow, probing, eyes
I wonder if It weighs like Mine
Or has an Easier size.
I wonder if They bore it long
Or did it just begin
I could not tell the Date of Mine
It feels so old a pain
I wonder if it hurts to live
And if They have to try
And whether could They choose between
It would not be to die
I note that Some gone patient long
At length, renew their smile
An imitation of a Light
That has so little Oil

The Soul unto itself

Is an imperial friend
Or the most agonizing Spy
An Enemy could send
Secure against its own
No treason it can fear
Itself its Sovereign of itself
The Soul should stand in Awe


A Psalm of Life
Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,

Is our destined end or way;

But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

the worlds broad field of battle,

the bivouac of Life,
not like dumb, driven cattle!
a hero in the strife!

Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?
Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.

An April Day
Trust no Future, howeer pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act, act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God oerhead!
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing oer lifes solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

A Shadow
I said unto myself, if I were dead,
What would befall these children? What would
Their fate, who now are looking up to me
For help and furtherance? Their lives, I said,
Would be a volume wherein I have read
But the first chapters, and no longer see
To read the rest of their dear history,
So full of beauty and so full of dread.
Be comforted; the world is very old,
And generations pass, as they have passed,
A troop of shadows moving with the sun;
Thousands of times has the old tale been told;
The world belongs to those who come the last,
They will find hope and strength as we have
The arrow and the song
I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight

When the warm sun, that brings

Seed-time and harvest, has returned again,
'T is sweet to visit the still wood, where
The first flower of the plain.
I love the season well,
When forest glades are teeming with bright
Nor dark and many-folded clouds foretell
The coming-on of storms.
From the earth's loosened mould
The sapling draws its sustenance, and thrives;
Though stricken to the heart with winter's
The drooping tree revives.
The softly-warbled song
Comes from the pleasant woods, and colored
Glance quick in the bright sun, that moves
The forest openings.
When the bright sunset fills
The silver woods with light, the green slope
Its shadows in the hollows of the hills,
And wide the upland glows.
And when the eve is born,
In the blue lake the sky, o'er-reaching far,
Is hollowed out and the moon dips her horn,
And twinkles many a star.
Inverted in the tide
Stand the gray rocks, and trembling shadows
And the fair trees look over, side by side,
And see themselves below.
Sweet April! many a thought
Is wedded unto thee, as hearts are wed;

Nor shall they fail, till, to its autumn

Life's golden fruit is shed.

Oh that a Song would sing itself to me
Out of the heart of Nature, or the heart
Of man, the child of Nature, not of Art,
Fresh as the morning, salt as the salt sea,
With just enough of bitterness to be
A medicine to this sluggish mood, and start
The life-blood in my veins, and so impart
Healing and help in this dull lethargy!
Alas! not always doth the breath of song
Breathe on us. It is like the wind that
At its own will, not ours, nor tarrieth long;
We hear the sound thereof, but no man knoweth
From whence it comes, so sudden and swift and
Nor whither in its wayward course it goeth.


The clouds are marshalling across the sky,
Leaving their deepest tints upon yon range
Of soul-alluring hills. The breeze comes
Laden with tribute that a hundred orchards
Now in their fullest blossom send, in thanks
For this refreshing shower. The birds pour
In heightened melody the notes of praise
They had suspended while Gods voice was
And his eye flashing down upon his world.
I sigh, half-charmed, half-pained. My sense is
And, taking in this freshened beauty, tells
Its pleasure to the mind. The mind replies,
And strives to wake the heart in turn,
Poetic sentiments from many a record
Which other souls have left, when stirred and
By scenes as fair, as fragrant. But the heart
Sends back a hollow echo to the call
Of outward things, and its once bright
Who erst would have been answered by a stream
Of life-fraught treasures, thankful to be
Can now rouse nothing better than this echo;

Unmeaning voice, which mocks their softened

Content thee, beautiful world! and hush, still
busy mind!
My heart hath sealed its fountains. To the
Of Time they shall be oped no more. Too long,
Too often were they poured forth: part have
Into the desert; part profaned and swollen
By bitter waters, mixed by those who feigned
They asked them for refreshment, which, turned
Have broken and oerflowed their former urns.
So when ye talk of pleasure, lonely world,
And busy mind, ye neer again shall move me
To answer ye, though still your calls have
To jar me through, and cause dull aching here.
No so the voice which hailed me from the
Of yon dark-bosomed cloud, now vanishing
Before the sun ye greet. It touched my centre,
The voice of the Eternal, calling me
To feel his other worlds; to feel that if
I could deserve a home, I still might find it
In other spheres, and bade me not despair,
Though want of harmony and aching void
Are terms invented by the men of this,
Which I may not forget.
In former
I loved to see the lightnings flash athwart
The stooping heavens; I loved to hear the
Call to the seas and mountains; for I thought
Tis thus mans flashing fancy doth enkidle
The firmament of mind; tis thus his
Calls unto the souls depths and heights; and
I defied the creature, nor remembered
The Creator in his works.
Ah now how
The proud delight of that keen sympathy
Is gone; no longer riding on the wave,
But whelmed beneath it: my own plans and
Or, as the Scriptures phrase it, my
No longer interpose twist me and Heaven.
Today, for the first time, I felt the Deity,
And uttered prayer on hearing thunder. This
Must be thy will, for finer, higher spirits
Have gone through this same process, yet I

There was religion in that strong delight,

Those sounds, those thoughts of power
imparted. True,
I did not say, He is the Lord thy God,
But I had feeling of his essence. But
Twas pride by which the angels fell. So be
But O, might I but see a little onward!
Father, I cannot be a spirit of power;
May I be active as a spirit of love,
Since thou hast taen me from that path which
Seemed to appoint, O, deign to ope another,
Where I may walk with thought and hope
Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief!
Had I but faith like that which fired Novalis,
I too could bear that the heart fall in
While the freed spirit rises from beneath
With heavenward-look, and Phoenix-plumes

For light is dark, hard soft, and cold is

One presence fills and floods the whole
Nothing can be, nothing has ever been,
Except the one truth that creates the scene.
Does the heart beat, that is a seeming only;
You cannot be alone, though you are lonely;
The All is neutralized in the One only.
You ask a faith, they are content with
You ask to have, but they reply, IT hath.
There is no end, and there need be no path.
The day wears heavily, why, then, ignore it;
Peace is the souls desire, such thoughts
restore it;
The truth thou art, it needs not to implore
The Presence all thy fancies supersedes,
All that is done which thou wouldst seek in
The wealth obliterates all seeming needs.

The One in All

There are who separate the eternal light
In forms of man and woman, day and night;
They cannot bear that God be essence quite.
Existence is as deep a verity:
Without the dual, where is unity?
And the I am cannot forbear to be;
But from its primal nature forced to frame
Mysteries, destinies of various name,
Is forced to give what it has taught to claim.
Thus love must answer to its own unrest;
The bad commands us to expect the best,
And hope of its own prospects is the test.
And dost thou seek to find the one in two?
Only upon the old can build the new;
The symbol which you seek is found in you.
The heart and mind, the wisdom and the will,
The man and woman, must be severed still,
And Christ must reconcile the good and ill.
There are to whom each symbol is a mask;
The life of love is a mysterious task;
They want no answer, for they would not ask.
A single thought transfuses every form;
The sunny day is changed into the storm,

Both these are true, and if they are at

The mystery bears the one name of Life,
That, slowly spelled, will yet compose the
The men of old say, Live twelve thousand
And see the need of all that here appears,
And Moxen* shall absorb thy smiles and tears.
These later men say, Live this little day.
Believe that human nature is the way,
And know both Son and Father while you pray;
And one in two, in three, and none alone,
Letting you know even as you are known,
Shall make the you and me eternal parts of
To me, our destinies seem flower and fruit
Born of an ever-generating root;
The other statement I cannot dispute.
But say that Love and Life eternal seem,
And if eternal ties be but a dream,
What is the meaning of that self-same seem?
Your nature craves Eternity for Truth;
Eternity of Love is prayer of youth;

How, without love, would have gone forth your

I do not think we are deceived to grow,
But that the crudest fancy, slightest show,
Covers some separate truth that we may know.
In the one Truth, each separate fact is true;
Eternally in one I many view,
And destinies through destiny pursue.
This is my tendency; but can I say
That this my thought leads the true, only way?
I only know it constant leads, and I obey.
I only know one prayer Give me the truth,
Give me that colored whiteness, ancient youth,
Complex and simple, seen in joy and truth.
Let me not by vain wishes bar my claim,
Nor soothe my hunger by an empty name,
Nor crucify the Son of man by hasty blame.
But in the earth and fire, water and air,
Live earnestly by turns without despair,
Nor seek a home till home be every where!

We deemed the secret lost, the spirit gone,
Which spake in Greek simplicity of thought,
And in the forms of gods and heroes wrought
Eternal beauty from the sculptured stone,
A higher charm than modern culture won
With all the wealth of metaphysic lore,
Gifted to analyze, dissect, explore.
A many-colored light flows from one sun;
Art, neath its beams, a motley thread has
The prism modifies the perfect day;
But thou hast known such mediums to shun,
And cast once more on life a pure, white
Absorbed in the creations of thy mind,
Forgetting daily self, my truest self I find.

WALT WHITMAN (1819 1892)

I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs
to you.

I loafe and invite my soul,

I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear
of summer grass.
My tongue, every atom of my blood, formd from
this soil, this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents
the same, and their parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect
health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.
Creeds and schools in abeyance,
Retiring back a while sufficed at what they
are, but never forgotten,
I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at
every hazard,
Nature without check with original energy.

I am the poet of the Body and I am the poet of
the Soul,
The pleasures of heaven are with me and the
pains of hell are with me,
The first I graft and increase upon myself,
the latter I translate into a new tongue.
I am the poet of the woman the same as the
And I say it is as great to be a woman as to
be a man,
And I say there is nothing greater than the
mother of men.
I chant the chant of dilation or pride,
We have had ducking and deprecating about
I show that size is only development.
Have you outstript the rest? are you the
It is a trifle, they will more than arrive
there every one, and still pass on.
I am he that walks with the tender and growing
I call to the earth and sea half-held by the
Press close bare-bosomd nightpress close
magnetic nourishing night!
Night of south windsnight of the large few
Still nodding nightmad naked summer night.
Smile O voluptuous cool-breathd earth!
Earth of the slumbering and liquid trees!

Earth of departed sunsetearth of the

mountains misty-topt!
Earth of the vitreous pour of the full moon
just tinged with blue!
Earth of shine and dark mottling the tide of
the river!
Earth of the limpid gray of clouds brighter
and clearer for my sake!
Far-swooping elbowd earthrich appleblossomd earth!
Smile, for your lover comes.

A Noiseless Patient Spider

Prodigal, you have given me lovetherefore I

to you give love!
O unspeakable passionate love.

And you O my soul where you stand,

Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing,
seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be formd, till
the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch
somewhere, O my soul.

O Captain! My Captain!
O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is
The ship has weatherd every rack, the prize
we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people
all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel
grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the
Rise upfor you the flag is flungfor you the
bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbond wreathsfor you
the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their
eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
Youve fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale
and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no
pulse nor will,
The ship is anchord safe and sound, its
voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in
with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

A noiseless patient spider,

I markd where on a little promontory it stood
Markd how to explore the vacant vast
It launchd forth filament, filament,
filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding

I Hear America Singing

I hear America singing, the varied carols I
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it
should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his
plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for
work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his
boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench,
the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutters song, the ploughboys on his
way in the morning, or at noon intermission or
at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the
young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to
none else,
The day what belongs to the dayat night the
party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong
melodious songs.

Centre of equal daughters, equal sons,
All, all alike endeard, grown, ungrown, young
or old,

Strong, ample,
Perennial with
and Love,
A grand, sane,
Chaird in the

fair, enduring, capable, rich,

the Earth, with Freedom, Law
towering, seated Mother,
adamant of Time.

That you are herethat life exists and

That the powerful play goes on, and you may
contribute a verse.

Who includes diversity and is Nature,
Who is the amplitude of the earth, and the
coarseness and sexuality of the earth, and the
great charity of the earth and the equilibrium
Who has not lookd forth from the windows the
eyes for nothing, or whose brain held audience
with messengers for nothing,
Who contains believers and disbelievers, who
is the most majestic lover,
Who holds duly his or her triune proportion of
realism, spiritualism, and of the sthetic or
Who having considerd the body finds all its
organs and parts good,
Who, out of the theory of the earth and of his
or her body understands by subtle analogies
all other theories,
The theory of a city, a poem, and of the large
politics of these States;
Who believes not only in our globe with its
sun and moon, but in other globes with their
suns and moons,
Who, constructing the house of himself or
herself, not for a day but for all time, sees
races, eras, dates, generations,
The past, the future, dwelling there, like
space, inseparable together.

O Me! O Life!
Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of
cities filld with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who
more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the
objects mean, of the struggle ever renewd,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding
and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest,
with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurringWhat
good amid these, O me, O life?