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Suffer, complain of our loads, but catch at their
withes as they leave us, Letting the song-birds escape, perceiving not till
they've fluttered, Bitterly weeping then, as we watch them die in the
distance. Struggling, we snatch at straws; call out, expect
ing no answer; Pray, but without any faith; grow laggard and
laugh at our anguish; Sin, and with wine-cup deadened, scoff at the
dread of hereafter,And, because all seems lost, besiege Death's door
way with gladness. Better we had not been, for what is the goal of
such striving ? Bubbles that glitter perchance, to burst in thin air
as they glitter! Comets that cleave the night, to leave the night but
the darker! Smudge that bursts into flame, but only in smoke
to be smothered! Out of the gifts of our spring, that only is beautiful
counted Which with the day-dawn breaks bud, and dies ere
the dew-drops have left it; Smiles there no healthfuler clime, where forms
that are fair never perish, But in a life-giving ether grow fairer with ripening
seasons ? Iroquois god, I adore thee, because thou art lasting
and mighty, Turn and gaze at thee, going, as on an all-marvel
ous vision, Dread thee, thou art so serene, but hate thee
with hatred most bitter, Taunter of all who dabble thy foam, and think to discover.
Thine too the years, and thine all time,- everlasting and fearless!”
Below this spire, a town, Where, truant from the city dials, come The lazy hours to lose themselves in dreams And sweet forgetfulness of summer heat; An idle sort of place, where all day long It seems like evening with the day's work done, Where men haste not, because there is no haste, And toil but little, for they've little need; A restful corner, where the August breeze, From softly listening, finger on the lip, At length from listlessness falls fast asleep, Till there is no sound heard save, now and then, Low thunder of a wagon on the bridge, Some shrill cicada from his citadel Beneath a thistle, challenging the noon, The whet of scythe and heavy hoist of sail, The dip of unseen oars, monotonous, And softly breathing waves that doze below, Too weak to more than turn themselves, complain, And doze again.
I love this old, red house, Where many a summer night I've lain at ease Behind that upper window looking east, And many a midnight willed to ward off sleep, Preferring the sweet melody of the waves, More restful.
A tall, drest elm, That guards the grindstone's place and helps to sift The glare and fervor from the midday sun, When from the meadow comes the glistening scythe To cool its brilliance with a watery edge, And tease the ear of the o'erheated day With its keen rasp, far sounding.
Hope too long put off
- The Legend of St. Olaf's Kirk.
That alone is august which is gazed upon by the
noble, That alone is gladsome which eyes full of gladness
discover ; Night-time is but a name for the darkness man
nurtures within him, Storm but a symbol of sin in a soul that is stained
and unshriven. Act but thine own true part, as He who created
hath purposed, Then are the waters thine, the winds, all forces
of nature; Thine too the seasons, their fruits, which they
redden but to surrender,
In 1865, upon the close of the Secession war, he was given a clerkship in the Attorney-General's office at Washington, which he retained until disabled by the attack of paralysis mentioned above. He then went to Camden, N. J., where he has since resided. For several years before and after 1880 his health was somewhat better. In the early years of his paralysis he was quite an invalid, and is so again now.
Within the last thirty-five years, Walt Whitman has published, besides the successive editions of
Leaves of Grass," and single poems, and small collections of poems, afterward incorporated into the “ Leaves," two volumes of prose, one“ Specimen Days and Collect," in 1882, the other, “November Boughs,” in 1888. These volumes are autobiographical and critical, and are, as it were, by the way.
The literary work of his life is Leaves of Grass," upon which his fame will rest. ** Leaves of Grass" both in matter and manner is unlike any previous book and cannot be judged .by the current canons. It is not plain straightforward prose, neither is it poetry in the ordinary technical sense. In structure it is rhythmic prose; in force and meaning it is poetry of a high if not the highest order. Its subject, rectly or indirectly, is always Walt Whitman himself treated as the typical man, not so much as being better than others, but as seeing more clearly the divinity that is in every human being. “I celebrate myself,"
and what I assume you should assume.” The man himself, the whole man, body and soul including his relations to the material world about him and the practical and social life of his time, is faithfully mirrored in his book, the living man, Walt Whitman, being reproduced with such intense vividness, such actual vitality that we dare not deny the justice of his final dictum.
R. M. B.
'HE WHITMANS, originally English, have lived
in Holland Dutch family of the poet's mother, the Van Velsors, about as long, both families farming their own land on Long Island, within a few miles of one another. Their private burial grounds, with their sunken mounds and numerous gray lichen-covered headstones, may still be seen, the one on its bare, wind-swept hillside, the other surrounded by trees, testifying to the length of residence of both families in this neighborhood. The Van Velsors lived at Cold Springs, the Whitmans at West Hills, At the latter village on the 31st of May, 1819, the poet was born. His parentage was of the best. From his father's family he inherited unusual strength, firmness and force of character; from his mother's, tenderness and sympathy. He hiinself always makes much of his parentage, and of his purely American origin. "Well begotten and raised by a perfect mother," he says; and again, “ My tongue, every atom of my blood, formed from this soil, this air. Born here of parents born here, from parents the same, and their parents the same."
He grew up on Long Island, at West Hills and Brooklyn, went to the public school for a few years when old enough, then to a printing office and learned the trade. While still quite young (under twenty), he taught a country school for a time, then worked at his trade and edited newspapers, the Eagle and Freeman among others. In '48 he went to New Orleans, walking, driving and by steamboat, often stopping on the way. Worked there a year on the editorial staff of the Crescent. In June, 1849, he returned to New York. For five years he worked as a carpenter, building small frame houses in Brooklyn and selling them as completed. He had all along, besides his editorial writings in newspapers, written essays, stories, sketches and short poems for the magazines, and one tale called “ Franklin Evans" (now lost) for separate publication in book form; but very early in the fifties (if not sooner), he began to contemplate his special undertaking, “Leaves of Grass,” the first edition of which appeared in 1855, the second the following year, the third in Boston in 1860.
In 1862 he joined the Northern army as a volunteer nurse without pay, making his living as he went, by writing letters to various newspapers. He continued his ministrations to the sick and wounded soldiers until the close of the war. result of his onerous hospital work, his health broke down, and in 1873 he had an attack of paralysis which still remains. Between 1867 and 1882 he published five editions of “Leaves of Grass," and the ninth edition has just appeared with the final authentic text.
How they are provided for upon the earth (appear.
ing at intervals), How dear and dreadful they are to the earth, How they inure to themselves as much as to any
—what a paradox appears their age, How people respond to them, yet know them not, How there is something relentless in their fate all
times, How all times mischoose the objects of their adula
tion and reward, And how the same inexorable price must still be
paid for the same great purchase.
PIONEERS! O PIONEERS!
COME my tan-faced children, Follow well in order, get your weapons ready,
Have the elder races halted ? Do they droop and end their lesson, wearied over
there beyond the seas? We take up the task eternal, and the burden and
All the past we leave behind, We debouch upon a newer mightier world, varied
world, Fresh and strong the world we seize, world of labor
and the march, Pioneers! O pioneers!
TEARS. Tears! tears! tears! In the night, in solitude, tears, On the white shore dripping, dripping, suck'd in
by the sand, Tears, not a star shining, all dark and desolate, Moist tears from the eyes of a muffled head; O who is that ghost? that form in the dark, with
tears? What shapeless lump is that, bent, crouch'd there
on the sand? Streaming tears, sobbing tears, throes, choked with
wild cries; O storm, embodied, rising, careering with swift
steps along the beach! O wild and dismal night-storm, with wind - 0
belching and desperate! O shade so sedate and decorous by day, with calm
countenance and regulated pace, But away at night as you fly, none looking - 0
then the unloosened ocean, Of tears! tears! tears!
We detachments steady throwing, Down the edges, through the passes, up the moun
tains steep, Conquering, holding, daring, venturing as we go
the unknown ways, Pioneers! O pioneers!
We primeval forests felling, We the rivers stemming, vexing we and piercing
deep the mines within, We the surface broad surveying, we the virgin soil
THE WORLD BELOW THE BRINE.