Walt Whitman |
NATIONS ten thousand years before These States, and many times ten thousand years before
Garner’d clusters of ages, that men and women like us grew up and travel’d their
course, and pass’d on;
What vast-built cities—what orderly republics—what pastoral tribes and nomads;
What histories, rulers, heroes, perhaps transcending all others;
What laws, customs, wealth, arts, traditions;
What sort of marriage—what costumes—what physiology and phrenology;
What of liberty and slavery among them—what they thought of death and the soul;
Who were witty and wise—who beautiful and poetic—who brutish and
Not a mark, not a record remains—And yet all remains.
O I know that those men and women were not for nothing, any more than we are for nothing;
I know that they belong to the scheme of the world every bit as much as we now belong to
and as all will henceforth belong to it.
Afar they stand—yet near to me they stand,
Some with oval countenances, learn’d and calm,
Some naked and savage—Some like huge collections of insects,
Some in tents—herdsmen, patriarchs, tribes, horsemen,
Some prowling through woods—Some living peaceably on farms, laboring, reaping,
Some traversing paved avenues, amid temples, palaces, factories, libraries, shows, courts,
theatres, wonderful monuments.
Are those billions of men really gone?
Are those women of the old experience of the earth gone?
Do their lives, cities, arts, rest only with us?
Did they achieve nothing for good, for themselves?
I believe of all those billions of men and women that fill’d the unnamed lands, every
exists this hour, here or elsewhere, invisible to us, in exact proportion to what he or
grew from in life, and out of what he or she did, felt, became, loved, sinn’d, in
I believe that was not the end of those nations, or any person of them, any more than this
shall be the end of my nation, or of me;
Of their languages, governments, marriage, literature, products, games, wars, manners,
prisons, slaves, heroes, poets, I suspect their results curiously await in the yet unseen
world—counterparts of what accrued to them in the seen world.
I suspect I shall meet them there,
I suspect I shall there find each old particular of those unnamed lands.
Rudyard Kipling |
Who in the Realm to-day lays down dear life for the sake of a land more dear?
And, unconcerned for his own estate, toils till the last grudged sands have run?
Let him approach.
It is proven here
Our King asks nothing of any man more than Our King himself, has done.
For to him above all was Life good, above all he commanded
Her abundance full-handed.
The peculiar treasure of Kings was his for the taking:
All that men come to in dreams he inherited waking: --
His marvel of world-gathered armies -- one heart and all races;
His seas 'neath his keels when his war-castles foamed to their places;
The thundering foreshores that answered his heralded landing;
The huge lighted cities adoring, the assemblies upstanding;
The Councils of Kings called in haste to learn how he was minded --
The kingdoms, the Powers, and the Glories he dealt with unblinded.
To him came all captains of men, all achievers of glory
Hot from the press of their battles they told him their story.
They revealed him their lives in an hour and, saluting departed,
Joyful to labour afresh -- he had made them new-hearted.
And, since he weighed men from his youth, and no lie long deceived him,
He spoke and exacted the truth, and the basest believed him.
And God poured him an exquisite wine, that was daily renewed to him,
In the clear-welling love of his peoples that daily accrued to him.
Honour and service we gave him, rejoicingly fearless;
Faith absolute, trust beyond speech and a friendship as peerless.
And since he was Master and Servant in all that we asked him,
We leaned hard on his wisdom in all things, knowing not how we tasked him.
For on him each new day laid command, every tyrannous hour,
To confront, or confirm, or make smooth some dread issue of power;
To deliver true, judgment aright at the instant, unaided,
In the strict, level, ultimate phrase that allowed or dissuaded;
To foresee, to allay, to avert from us perils unnumbered,
To stand guard on our gates when he guessed that the watchmen had slumbered;
To win time, to turn hate, to woo folly to service and, mightily schooling
His strength to the use of his Nations, to rule as not ruling.
These were the works of our King; Earth's peace was the proof of them.
God gave him great works to fulfil, and to us the behoof of them.
We accepted his toil as our right -- none spared, none excused him.
When he was bowed by his burden his rest was refused him.
We troubled his age with our weakness -- the blacker our shame to us!
Hearing his People had need of him, straightway he came to us.
As he received so he gave -- nothing grudged, naught denying,
Not even the last gasp of his breath when he strove for us, dying.
For our sakes, without question, he put from him all that he cherished.
Simply as any that serve him he served and he perished.
All that Kings covet was his, and he flung it aside for us.
Simply as any that die in his service he died for us!
Who in the Realm to-day has choice of the easy road or the hard to tread?
And, much concerned for his own estate, would sell his soul to remain in the sun?
Let him depart nor look on Our dead.
Our King asks nothing of any man more than Our King himself has done.
Walt Whitman |
A GREAT year and place;
A harsh, discordant, natal scream out-sounding, to touch the mother’s heart closer
I walk’d the shores of my Eastern Sea,
Heard over the waves the little voice,
Saw the divine infant, where she woke, mournfully wailing, amid the roar of cannon,
shouts, crash of falling buildings;
Was not so sick from the blood in the gutters running—nor from the single corpses,
those in heaps, nor those borne away in the tumbrils;
Was not so desperate at the battues of death—was not so shock’d at the repeated
fusillades of the guns.
Pale, silent, stern, what could I say to that long-accrued retribution?
Could I wish humanity different?
Could I wish the people made of wood and stone?
Or that there be no justice in destiny or time?
O Liberty! O mate for me!
Here too the blaze, the grape-shot and the axe, in reserve, to fetch them out in case of
Here too, though long represt, can never be destroy’d;
Here too could rise at last, murdering and extatic;
Here too demanding full arrears of vengeance.
Hence I sign this salute over the sea,
And I do not deny that terrible red birth and baptism,
But remember the little voice that I heard wailing—and wait with perfect trust, no
And from to-day, sad and cogent, I maintain the bequeath’d cause, as for all lands,
And I send these words to Paris with my love,
And I guess some chansonniers there will understand them,
For I guess there is latent music yet in France—floods of it;
O I hear already the bustle of instruments—they will soon be drowning all that would
O I think the east wind brings a triumphal and free march,
It reaches hither—it swells me to joyful madness,
I will run transpose it in words, to justify it,
I will yet sing a song for you, MA FEMME.