A Song for Occupations
A Song for Occupations
A SONG for occupations!
In the labor of engines and trades and the labor of fields
I find the developments,
find the eternal meanings.
Workmen and Workwomen!
Were all educations practical and ornamental well display'd
out of me, what
would it amount to?
Were I as the head teacher, charitable proprietor, wise
statesman, what would it
Were I to you as the boss employing and paying you, would
that satisfy you?
The learn'd, virtuous, benevolent, and the usual terms,
A man like me and never the usual terms.
Neither a servant nor a master I,
I take no sooner a large price than a small price, I will
have my own
whoever enjoys me,
I will be even with you and you shall be even with me.
If you stand at work in a shop I stand as nigh as the nighest
in the same shop,
If you bestow gifts on
your brother or dearest friend I
demand as good as your brother or dearest friend,
If your lover, husband,
wife, is welcome by day or night, I
must be personally as welcome,
If you become degraded, criminal, ill,
then I become so for
If you remember your foolish and outlaw'd deeds, do you think
remember my own foolish and outlaw'd deeds?
If you carouse at the table I carouse at the opposite side
If you meet some stranger in the streets and love him or her,
why I often meet strangers in
the street and love them.
Why what have you thought of yourself?
Is it you then that thought yourself less?
Is it you that thought
the President greater than you?
Or the rich better off than you? or the educated wiser than
(Because you are greasy or pimpled, or were once drunk,
or a thief,
Or that you are diseas'd, or rheumatic,
or a prostitute,
Or from frivolity or impotence, or that you are no scholar
and never saw your name in
Do you give in that you are any less immortal?)
Souls of men and women! it is not you I call unseen, unheard,
untouchable and untouching,
It is not you
I go argue pro and con about, and to settle
whether you are alive or no,
I own publicly who you are, if
nobody else owns.
Grown, half-grown and babe, of this country and every
country, indoors and out-doors, one just as much
the other, I see,
And all else behind or through them.
The wife, and she is not one jot less than the husband,
The daughter, and she is just as good as the
The mother, and she is every bit as much as the father.
Offspring of ignorant and poor, boys apprenticed to trades,
Young fellows working on farms and old fellows
Sailor-men, merchant-men, coasters, immigrants,
All these I see, but nigher and farther
the same I see,
None shall escape me and none shall wish to escape me.
I bring what you much need yet always have,
Not money, amours, dress, eating, erudition, but as good,
send no agent or medium, offer no representative of value,
but offer the value itself.
There is something that comes to one now and perpetually,
It is not what is printed, preach'd, discussed,
discussion and print,
It is not to be put in a book, it is not in this book,
It is for you whoever you
are, it is no farther from you
than your hearing and sight are from you,
It is hinted by nearest, commonest,
readiest, it is ever
provoked by them.