The moon gives you light,
And the bugles and the drums give you music,
And my heart, O my soldiers, my veterans,
My heart gives you love.
Topics: The Military
Produce great men, the rest follows.
The female that loves unrequited sleeps,
And the male that loves unrequited sleeps,
The head of the money-maker that plotted all day sleeps,
And the enraged and treacherous dispositions, all, all sleep.
Seasons pursuing each other the indescribable crowd is gathered, it is the fourth of Seventh-month, (what salutes of cannon and small arms!)
Whatever satisfies the soul is truth.
I know nothing grander, better exercise, better digestion, more positive proof of the The Past triumphant result of faith in human kind, than a well-contested American national election.
I never could explain why I love anybody, or anything.
A child said, “What is the grass?” fetching it to me with full hands; How could I answer the child? … I do not know what it is any more than he.
Nothing endures but personal qualities.
This dust was once the man,
Gentle, plain, just and resolute, under whose cautious hand,
Against the foulest crime in history known in any land or age,
Was saved the Union of these States.
They do not sweat and whine about their condition, they do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins, they do not make me sick discussing their duty to God, not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things, not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago.
I see the President almost every day. I see very plainly Abraham Lincoln’s dark brown face with its deep-cut lines, the eyes always to me with a deep latent sadness in the expression. None of the artists or pictures has caught the deep, though subtle and indirect expression of this man’s face. There is something else there. One of the great portrait painters of two or three centuries ago is needed.
I say to mankind, Be not curious about God. For I, who am curious about each, am not curious about God – I hear and behold God in every object, yet understand God not in the least.
Henceforth I ask not good fortune. I myself am good fortune.
In the broad earth of ours,
Amid the measureless grossness and the slag,
Enclosed and safe within its central heart,
Nestles the seed perfection.
It is only the novice in political economy who thinks it is the duty of government to make its citizens happy. Government has no such office. To protect the weak and the minority from the impositions of the strong and the majorityto prevent any one from positively working to render the people unhappy, to do the labor not of an officious inter-meddler in the affairs of men, but of a prudent watchman who prevents outragethese are rather the proper duties of a government. Under the specious pretext of effecting the happiness of the whole community, nearly all the wrongs and intrusions of government have been carried through. The legislature may, and should, when such things fall in its way, lend its potential weight to the cause of virtue and happinessbut to legislate in direct behalf of those objects is never available, and rarely effects any even temporary benefit.
The powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.
How beggarly appear arguments before a defiant deed!
I say that democracy can never prove itself beyond cavil, until it founds and luxuriantly grows its own forms of art, poems, schools, theology, displacing all that exists, or that has been produced anywhere in the past, under opposite influences.
What a devil art thou, Poverty! How many desires—how many aspirations after goodness and truth—how many noble thoughts, loving wishes toward our fellows, beautiful imaginings thou hast crushed under thy heel, without remorse or pause!
Topics: Poverty, The Poor
And I will show that there is no imperfection in the present, and can be none in the future, and I will show that whatever happens to anybody it may be turn’d to beautiful results, and I will show that nothing can happen more beautiful than death, and I will thread a thread through my poems that time and events are compact, and that all the things of the universe are perfect miracles, each as profound as any.
I cannot too often repeat that Democracy is a word the real gist of which still sleeps, quite unawakened, notwithstanding the resonance and the many angry tempests out of which its syllables have come, from pen or tongue. It is a great word, whose history, I suppose, remains unwritten because that history has yet to be enacted.
The Past—the dark unfathomed retrospect! The teeming gulf—the sleepers and the shadows! The past! the infinite greatness of the past! For what is the present after all but a growth out of the past?
Topics: Past, Time, The Past
Why are there men and women that while they are nigh me the sunlight expands my blood? Why when they leave me do my pennants of joy sink flat and lank?
I celebrate 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.
O lands! O all so dear to me—what you are, I become part of that, whatever it is.
Have you learned lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you? Have you not learned great lessons from those who rejected you, and braced themselves against you, or disputed the passage with you?
Topics: Opposition, Learning
The city fireman-the fire that suddenly bursts forth in the close-pack’d square,
The arriving engines, the hoarse shouts, the nimble stepping and daring,
The strong command through the fire-trumpets, the falling in line,
the rise and fall of the arms forcing the water,
The slender, spasmic, blue-white jets-the bringing to bear of the hooks and ladders, and their execution,
The crash and cut away of connecting wood-work, or through floors, if the fire smoulders under them,
The crowd with their lit faces, watching-the glare and dense shadows;….
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Ralph Waldo Emerson American Philosopher
- Henry David Thoreau American Philosopher
- Edna St. Vincent Millay American Poet
- Gore Vidal American Novelist
- James Russell Lowell American Poet, Critic
- Christopher Morley American Novelist, Essayist
- Natalie Clifford Barney American Playwright
- John Jay Chapman American Biographer
- Herman Melville American Novelist
- Gertrude Stein American Writer