BIRDS OF PASSAGE

SONG OF THE UNIVERSAL

1

COME, said the Muse,
Sing me a song no poet yet has chanted,
Sing me the universal.

In this broad earth of ours,
Amid the measureless grossness and the slag,
Enclosed and safe within its central heart,
Nestles the seed perfection.

By every life a share or more or less,
None born but it is born, conceal'd or unconceal'd the seed is
waiting.


2

Lo! keen-eyed towering science,
As from tall peaks the modern overlooking,
Successive absolute fiats issuing.

Yet again, lo! the soul, above all science,
For it has history gather'd like husks around the globe,
For it the entire star-myriads roll through the sky.

In spiral routes by long detours,
(As a much-tacking ship upon the sea),
For it the partial to the permanent flowing,
For it the real to the ideal tends.

For it the mystic evolution,
Not the right only justified, what we call evil also justified.

Forth from their masks, no matter what,
From the huge festering trunk, from craft and guile and tears,
Health to emerge and joy, joy universal.
Out of the bulk, the morbid and the shallow,
Out of the bad majority, the varied countless frauds of men
and states,

-195-

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Leaves of Grass
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page I
  • Introduction III
  • Contents xiii
  • Leaves of Grass 1
  • Children of Adam 79
  • Calamus 97
  • Birds of Passage 195
  • Sea-Drift 213
  • Drum-Taps 239
  • Memories of President Lincoln 278
  • Index of First Lines 305
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