Starting from Paumanok
Starting from Paumanok1
STARTING from fish-shape Paumanok where I was born,
Well-begotten, and rais'd by a perfect mother,
roaming many lands, lover of populous pavements,
Dweller in Mannahatta my city, or on southern savannas,
a soldier camp'd or carrying my knapsack and gun, or a
miner in California,
Or rude in my home in Dakota's
woods, my diet meat, my
drink from the spring,
Or withdrawn to muse and meditate in some deep recess,
from the clank of crowds intervals passing rapt and
Aware of the fresh free giver the flowing Missouri,
Aware of the buffalo herds grazing the plains, the hirsute and
Of earth, rocks, Fifth-month flowers experienced, stars, rain,
snow, my amaze,
Having studied the
mocking-bird's tones and the flight of the
And heard at dawn the unrivall'd one, the hermit
from the swamp-cedars,
Solitary, singing in the West, I strike up for a New World.
Victory, union, faith, identity, time,
The indissoluble compacts, riches, mystery,
Eternal progress, the kosmos,
and the modern reports.
This then is life,
Here is what has come to the surface after so many throes
Underfoot the divine soil, overhead the sun.
See revolving the globe,
The ancestor-continents away group'd together,
The present and future continents
north and south, with the
See, vast trackless spaces,
As in a dream they change, they swiftly fill,
Countless masses debouch upon
They are now cover'd with the foremost people, arts,
See, projected through time,
For me an audience interminable.
With firm and regular step they wend, they never stop,
Successions of men, Americanos, a hundred
One generation playing its part and passing on,
Another generation playing its part and passing
on in its turn,
With faces turn'd sideways or backward towards me to listen,
With eyes retrospective towards
Americanos! conquerors! marches humanitarian!
Foremost! century marches! Libertad! masses!
a programme of chants.
Chants of the prairies,
Chants of the long-running Mississippi, and down to the
Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and
Chants going forth from the centre from Kansas,
Shooting in pulses of fire ceaseless to vivify all.
Take my leaves America, take them South and take them
Make welcome for them everywhere,
for they are your own
Surround them East and West, for they would surround you,
precedents, connect lovingly with them, for they
connect lovingly with you.
I conn'd old times,
I sat studying at the feet of the great masters,
Now if eligible O that the great masters
might return and
In the name of these States shall I scorn the antique?
Why these are the children of the antique to justify