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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

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Walt Whitman

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

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