Years Of The Modern

Walt Whitman 1819 (West Hills) – 1892 (Camden)




   YEARS of the modern! years of the unperform'd!
   Your horizon rises--I see it parting away for more august dramas;
   I see not America only--I see not only Liberty's nation, but other
         nations preparing;
   I see tremendous entrances and exits--I see new combinations--I see
         the solidarity of races;
   I see that force advancing with irresistible power on the world's
         stage;
   (Have the old forces, the old wars, played their parts? are the acts
         suitable to them closed?)
   I see Freedom, completely arm'd, and victorious, and very haughty,
         with Law on one side, and Peace on the other,
   A stupendous Trio, all issuing forth against the idea of caste;
   --What historic denouements are these we so rapidly approach?
   I see men marching and countermarching by swift millions;          10
   I see the frontiers and boundaries of the old aristocracies broken;
   I see the landmarks of European kings removed;
   I see this day the People beginning their landmarks, (all others give
         way;)
   --Never were such sharp questions ask'd as this day;
   Never was average man, his soul, more energetic, more like a God;
   Lo! how he urges and urges, leaving the masses no rest;
   His daring foot is on land and sea everywhere--he colonizes the
         Pacific, the archipelagoes;
   With the steam-ship, the electric telegraph, the newspaper, the
         wholesale engines of war,
   With these, and the world-spreading factories, he interlinks all
         geography, all lands;
   --What whispers are these, O lands, running ahead of you, passing
         under the seas?                                              20
   Are all nations communing? is there going to be but one heart to the
         globe?
   Is humanity forming, en-masse?--for lo! tyrants tremble, crowns grow
         dim;
   The earth, restive, confronts a new era, perhaps a general divine
         war;
   No one knows what will happen next--such portents fill the days and
         nights;
   Years prophetical! the space ahead as I walk, as I vainly try to
         pierce it, is full of phantoms;
   Unborn deeds, things soon to be, project their shapes around me;
   This incredible rush and heat--this strange extatic fever of dreams,
         O years!
   Your dreams, O year, how they penetrate through me! (I know not
         whether I sleep or wake!)
   The perform'd America and Europe grow dim, retiring in shadow behind
         me,
   The unperform'd, more gigantic than ever, advance, advance upon
         me.                                                          30

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

1:56 min read
126

Quick analysis:

Scheme ABCDEBFGHAACAIJKALMAAANBNOPQDRNSTUVOAWAXEYZA1 AE2 E
Closest metre Iambic hexameter
Characters 2,582
Words 382
Stanzas 1
Stanza Lengths 49

Walt Whitman

Walter "Walt" Whitman was an American poet, essayist and journalist. more…

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