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Years Of The Modern Analysis

Author: Poetry of Walt Whitman Type: Poetry Views: 423

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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


(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


--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


Is humanity forming, en-masse?--for lo! tyrants tremble, crowns grow


The earth, restive, confronts a new era, perhaps a general divine


No one knows what will happen next--such portents fill the days and


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


The unperform'd, more gigantic than ever, advance, advance upon



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