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They flit across the ear;
That is best blood that hath most iron in't
To edge resolve with, pouring without stint

For what makes manhood dear.
Tell us not of Plantagenets,
Hapsburgs, and Guelfs, whose thin bloods crawl
Down from some victor in a border-brawl !

How poor their outworn coronets,
Matched with one leaf of that plain civic wreath
Our brave for honour's blazon shall bequeath,

Through whose desert a rescued Nation sets
Her heel on treason, and the trumpet hears
Shout victory, tingling Europe's sullen ears

With vain resentments and more vain regrets !


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Not in anger, not in pride,
Pure from passion's mixture rude
Ever to base earth allied,
But with far-heard gratitude,

Still with heart and voice renewed,
To heroes living and dear martyrs dead,
The strain should close that consecrates our brave.
Lift the heart and lift the head !

Lofty be its mood and grave,
Not without a martial ring,
Not without a prouder tread
And a peal of exultation :
Little right has he to sing
Through whose heart in such an hour
Beats no march of conscious power,
Sweeps no tumult of elation !
'Tis no Man we celebrate,

By his country's victories great,
A hero half, and half the whim of Fate,

But the pith and marrow of a Nation
Drawing force from all her men,
Highest, humblest, weakest, all,
For her time of need, and then

Pulsing it again through them,
Till the basest can no longer cower,
Feeling his soul spring up divinely tall,
Touched but in passing by her mantle-hem.
Come back, then, noble pride, for 'tis her dower !

How could poet ever tower,
If his passions, hopes, and fears,
If his triumphs and his tears,
Kept not measure with his people ?

Boom, cannon, boom to all the winds and waves !
Clash out, glad bells, from every rocking steeple !
Banners, advance with triumph, bend your staves !

And from every mountain-peak
Let beacon-fire to answering beacon speak,

Katahdin tell Monadnock, White-face he,
And so leap on in light from sea to sea,

Till the glad news be sent

Across a kindling continent, Making earth feel more firm and air breathe braver : “Be proud ! for she is saved, and all have helped to save her!

She that lifts up the manhood of the poor,
She of the open soul and open door,
With room about her hearth for all mankind !
The fire is dreadful in her eyes no more ;
From her bold front the helm she doth unbind,
Sends all her handmaid armies back to spin,
And bids her navies, that so lately hurled
Their crashing battle, hold their thunders in,
Swimming like birds of calm along the unharmful shore.
No challenge sends she to the elder world,
That looked askance and hated ; a light scorn
Plays o'er her mouth, as round her mighty knees

She calls her children back, and waits the morn
Of nobler day, enthroned between her subject seas.

Bow down, dear Land, for thou hast found release !

Thy God, in these distempered days,

Hath taught thee the sure wisdom of His ways,
And through thine enemies hath wrought thy peace !

Bow down prayer and praise !
No poorest in thy borders but may now
List to the juster skies a man's enfranchised brow,
O Beautiful ! my Country ! ours once more !
Smoothing thy gold of war-dishevelled hair
O'er such sweet brows as never other wore,

And letting thy set lips,

Freed from wrath's pale eclipse,
The rosy edges of their smile lay bare,
What words divine of lover or of poet
Could tell our love and make thee know it,
Among the Nations bright beyond compare?

What were our lives without thee?
What all our lives to save thee?
We reck not what we gave thee :

We will not dare to doubt thee,
But ask whatever else, and we will dare!



WHITHER? Albeit I follow fast,

In all life's circuit I but find,
Not where thou art, but where thou wast,

Sweet beckoner, more fleet than wind !
I haunt the pine-dark solitudes,

With soft brown silence carpeted,
And plot to snare thee in the woods :)

Peace I o'ertake, but thou art fled!
I find the rock where thou didst rest,
The moss thy skimming foot hath prest :

All Nature with thy parting thrills,
Like branches after birds new-flown;

Thy passage hill and hollow fills
With hints of virtue not their own;
In dimples still the water slips
Where thou hast dipt thy finger-tips ;

Just, just beyond, for ever burn
Gleams of a grace without return;

Upon thy shade I plant my foot,

And through my frame strange raptures shoot ; All of thee but thyself I grasp ;

I seem to fold thy luring shape,
And vague air to my bosom clasp,

Thou lithé, perpetual Escape !
One mask and then another drops,
And thou art secret as before ;

Sometimes with flooded ear I list,

And hear thee, wondrous organist,
From mighty continental stops
A thunder of new music pour ;
Through pipes of earth and air and stone
Thy inspiration deep is blown ;
Through mountains, forests, open downs,
Lakes, railroads, prairies, states, and towns,
Thy gathering fugue goes rolling on
From Maine to utmost Oregon ;
The factory-wheels in cadence hum,
From brawling parties concords come ;
All this I hear, or seem to hear,
But when, enchanted, I draw near
To mate with words the various theme,
Life seems a whiff of kitchen steam,

History an organ-grin 'er's thrum,

For thou hast slipt from it and me
And all thine organ-pipes left dumb,

Most mutable Perversity !
Not weary yet, I still must seek,
And hope for luck next day, next week ;
I go to see the great man ride,
Shiplike, the swelling human tide
That floods to bear him into port,
Trophied from Senate-hall and Court;
Thy magnetism, I feel it there,
Thy rhythmic presence fleet and rare,
Making the Mob a moment fine
With glimpses of their own Divine,
As in their demigod they see

Their cramped ideal soaring free; 'Twas thou didst bear the fire about,

That, like the springing of a mine Sent up to heaven the street-long shout; Full well I know that thou wast here, It was thy breath that brushed my ear ; But vainly in the stress and whirl I dive for thee, the moment's pearl. Through every shape thou well canst run, Proteus, 'twixt rise and set of sun, Well pleased with logger-camps in Maine

As where Milan's pale Duomo lies A stranded glacier on the plain,

Its peaks and pinnacles of ice

Melted in many a quaint device, And sees, above the city's din, Afar its silent Alpine kin : I track thee over carpets deep To wealth's and beauty's inmost keep ; Across the sand of bar-room floors 'Mid the stale reek of boosing boors ; Where drowse the hay-field's fragrant heats, Or the flail-heart of Autumn beats ; I dog thee through the market's throngs To where the sea with myriad tongues Laps the green edges of the pier, And the tall ships that eastward steer, Curtsey their farewells to the town, O'er the curved distance lessening down ; I follow allwhere for thy sake, Touch thy robe's hem, and ne'er o’ertake,

Find where, scarce yet unmoving, lies,
Warm from thy limbs, thy last disguise ;
But thou another shape hast donned,
And lurest still just, just beyond !
But here a voice, I know not whence,
Thrills clearly through my inward sense,
Saying : “See where she sits at home
While thou in search of her dost roam !
All summer long her ancient wheel

Whirls humming by the open door,
Or, when the hickory's social zeal

Sets the wide chimney in a roar, Close-nestled by the tinkling hearth, It modulates the household mirth With that sweet serious undertone Of duty, music all her own ; Still as of old she sits and spins Our hopes, our sorrows, and our sins ; With equal care she twines the lates Of cottages and mighty states; She spins the earth, the air, the sea, The maiden's unschooled fancy free, The boy's first love, the man's first grief, The budding and the fall o' the leaf ; The piping west-wind's snowy care For her their cloudy fleeces spare, Or from the thorns of evil times She can glean wool to twist her rhymes ; Morning and noon and eve supply To her their fairest tints for dye, But ever through her twirling thread There spires one line of warmest red, Tinged from the homestead's genial heart, The stamp and warrant of her art; With this Time's sickle she outwears, And blunts the Sisters' baffled shears. “Harass her not : thy heat and stir But greater coyness breed in her ; Yet thou mayst find, ere Age's frost, Thy long apprenticeship not lost, Learning at last that Stygian Fate Unbends to him that knows to wait. The Muse is womanish, nor deigns Her love to him that pules and plains ; With proud, averted face she stands To him that wooes with empty hands.


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