O the farmer's joys!
Ohioan's, Illinoisian's, Wisconsinese', Kanadian's, Iowan's,
To rise at peep of day and pass forth nimbly to work,
To plough land in the fall for winter-
To plough land in the spring for maize,
To train orchards, to graft the trees, to gather apples
O to bathe in the swimming-bath, or in a good place along
To splash the water! to walk ankle-
deep, or race naked along
O to realize space!
The plenteousness of all, that there are no bounds,
To emerge and be of the sky, of
the sun and moon and flying
clouds, as one with them.
O the joy of a manly self-hood!
To be servile to none, to defer to none, not to any tyrant
known or unknown,
walk with erect carriage, a step springy and elastic,
To look with calm gaze or with a flashing eye,
speak with a full and sonorous voice out of a broad chest,
To confront with your personality all the other
Know'st thou the excellent joys of youth?
Joys of the dear companions and of the merry word and laughing
Joy of the glad light-beaming day, joy of the wide-breath'd games?
Joy of sweet music, joy of the
lighted ball-room and the dancers?
Joy of the plenteous dinner, strong carouse and drinking?
Yet O my soul supreme!
Know'st thou the joys of pensive thought?
Joys of the free and lonesome heart,
the tender, gloomy heart?
Joys of the solitary walk, the spirit bow'd yet proud, the
suffering and the struggle?
The agonistic throes,
the ecstasies, joys of the solemn musings
day or night?
Joys of the thought of Death, the great spheres
Time and Space?
Prophetic joys of better, loftier love's ideals, the divine wife,
the sweet, eternal, perfect
Joys all thine own undying one, joys worthy thee O soul.
O while I live to be the ruler of life, not a slave,
To meet life as a powerful conqueror,
No fumes, no ennui,
no more complaints or scornful criticisms,
To these proud laws of the air, the water and the ground,
my interior soul impregnable,
And nothing exterior shall ever take command of me.
For not life's joys alone I sing, repeating the joy of death!
The beautiful touch of Death, soothing and
benumbing a few
moments, for reasons,
Myself discharging my excrementitious body to be burn'd, or
render'd to powder, or buried,
My real body doubtless left to me for other spheres,
My voided body nothing
more to me, returning to the purifications,
further offices, eternal uses of the earth.
O to attract by more than attraction!
How it is I know not yet behold! the something which
of the rest,
It is offensive, never defensive yet how magnetic it draws.
O to struggle against great odds, to meet enemies undaunted!
To be entirely alone with them, to find
how much one can stand!
To look strife, torture, prison, popular odium, face to face!
To mount the scaffold,
to advance to the muzzles of guns
with perfect nonchalance!
To be indeed a God!
O to sail to sea in a ship!
To leave this steady unendurable land,
To leave the tiresome sameness of the
streets, the sidewalks and
To leave you O you solid motionless land, and entering a ship,
sail and sail and sail!
O to have life henceforth a poem of new joys!
To dance, clap hands, exult, shout, skip, leap, roll on, float
To be a sailor of the world bound for all ports,
A ship itself, (see indeed these sails I spread to the sun
A swift and swelling ship full of rich words, full of joys.