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CHANTS DEMOCRATIC.


—————


4.

AMERICA always!
Always me joined with you, whoever you are!
Always our own feuillage!
Always Florida's green peninsula! Always the price-
less delta of Louisiana! Always the cotton-fields
of Alabama and Texas!
Always California's golden hills and hollows—and
the silver mountains of New Mexico! Always
soft-breath'd Cuba!
Always the vast slope drained by the Southern Sea
—inseparable with the slopes drained by the
Eastern and Western Seas,
The area the Eighty-third year of These States—the
three and a half millions of square miles,
The eighteen thousand miles of sea-coast and bay-
coast on the main—the thirty thousand miles
of river navigation,
The seven millions of distinct families, and the same
number of dwellings—Always these and more,
branching forth into numberless branches;
Always the free range and diversity! Always the
continent of Democracy!
Always the prairies, pastures, forests, vast cities,
travellers, Kanada, the snows;


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Always these compact lands—lands tied at the hips
with the belt stringing the huge oval lakes;
Always the West, with strong native persons—the
increasing density there—the habitans, friendly,
threatening, ironical, scorning invaders;
All sights, South, North, East—all deeds, promis-
cuously done at all times,
All characters, movements, growths—a few noticed,
myriads unnoticed,
Through Mannahatta's streets I walking, these things
gathering;
On interior rivers, by night, in the glare of pine
knots, steamboats wooding up;
Sunlight by day on the valley of the Susquehanna,
and on the valleys of the Potomac and Rappa-
hannock, and the valleys of the Roanoke and
Delaware;
In their northerly wilds beasts of prey haunting the
Adirondacks, the hills—or lapping the Saginaw
waters to drink;
In a lonesome inlet, a sheldrake, lost from the flock,
sitting on the water, rocking silently;
In farmers' barns, oxen in the stable, their harvest
labor done—they rest standing—they are too
tired;
Afar on arctic ice, the she-walrus lying drowsily,
while her cubs play around;
The hawk sailing where men have not yet sailed—
the farthest polar sea, ripply, crystalline, open,
beyond the floes;
White drift spooning ahead, where the ship in the
tempest dashes;
On solid land, what is done in cities, as the bells all
strike midnight together;


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In primitive woods, the sounds there also sounding—
the howl of the wolf, the scream of the panther,
and the hoarse bellow of the elk;
In winter beneath the hard blue ice of Moosehead
Lake—in summer visible through the clear
waters, the great trout swimming;
In lower latitudes, in warmer air, in the Carolinas,
the large black buzzard floating slowly high
beyond the tree-tops,
Below, the red cedar, festooned with tylandria—the
pines and cypresses, growing out of the white
sand that spreads far and flat;
Rude boats descending the big Pedee—climbing
plants, parasites, with colored flowers and berries,
enveloping huge trees,
The waving drapery on the live oak, trailing long and
low, noiselessly waved by the wind;
The camp of Georgia wagoners, just after dark—the
supper-fires, and the cooking and eating by
whites and negroes,
Thirty or forty great wagons—the mules, cattle,
horses, feeding from troughs,
The shadows, gleams, up under the leaves of the old
sycamore-trees—the flames—also the black
smoke from the pitch-pine, curling and rising;
Southern fishermen fishing—the sounds and inlets
of North Carolina's coast—the shad-fishery
and the herring-fishery—the large sweep-seines
—the windlasses on shore worked by horses—
the clearing, curing, and packing houses;
Deep in the forest, in the piney woods, turpentine
and tar dropping from the incisions in the trees
—There is the turpentine distillery,


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There are the negroes at work, in good health—the
ground in all directions is covered with pine
straw;
In Tennessee and Kentucky, slaves busy in the coal-
ings, at the forge, by the furnace-blaze, or at the
corn-shucking;
In Virginia, the planter's son returning after a long
absence, joyfully welcomed and kissed by the
aged mulatto nurse;
On rivers, boatmen safely moored at night-fall, in their
boats, under the shelter of high banks,
Some of the younger men dance to the sound of the
banjo or fiddle—others sit on the gunwale,
smoking and talking;
Late in the afternoon, the mocking-bird, the American
mimic, singing in the Great Dismal Swamp—
there are the greenish waters, the resinous odor,
the plenteous moss, the cypress tree, and the
juniper tree;
Northward, young men of Mannahatta—the target
company from an excursion returning home at
evening—the musket-muzzles all bear bunches
of flowers presented by women;
Children at play—or on his father's lap a young boy
fallen asleep, (how his lips move! how he smiles
in his sleep!)
The scout riding on horseback over the plains west of
the Mississippi—he ascends a knoll and sweeps
his eye around;
California life—the miner, bearded, dressed in his
rude costume—the stanch California friendship
—the sweet air—the graves one, in passing,
meets, solitary, just aside the horse-path;


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Down in Texas, the cotton-field, the negro-cabins—
drivers driving mules or oxen before rude carts
—cotton-bales piled on banks and wharves;
Encircling all, vast-darting, up and wide, the Amer-
ican Soul, with equal hemispheres—one Love,
one Dilation or Pride;
In arriere, the peace-talk with the Iroquois, the
aborigines—the calumet, the pipe of good-will
arbitration, and indorsement,
The sachem blowing the smoke first toward the sun
and then toward the earth,
The drama of the scalp-dance enacted with painted
faces and guttural exclamations,
The setting out of the war-party—the long and
stealthy march,
The single file—the swinging hatchets—the surprise
and slaughter of enemies;
All the acts, scenes, ways, persons, attitudes of These
States—reminiscences, all institutions,
All These States, compact—Every square mile of
These States, without excepting a particle—you
also—me also,
Me pleased, rambling in lanes and country fields,
Paumanok's fields,
Me, observing the spiral flight of two little yellow
butterflies, shuffling between each other, ascend-
ing high in the air;
The darting swallow, the destroyer of insects—the
fall traveller southward, but returning northward
early in the spring;
The country boy at the close of the day, driving the
herd of cows, and shouting to them as they loiter
to browse by the road-side;


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The city wharf—Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore,
Charleston, New Orleans, San Francisco,
The departing ships, when the sailors heave at the
capstan;
Evening—me in my room—the setting sun,
The setting summer sun shining in my open window,
showing me flies, suspended, balancing in the
air in the centre of the room, darting athwart,
up and down, casting swift shadows in specks on
the opposite wall, where the shine is;
The athletic American matron speaking in public to
crowds of listeners;
Males, females, immigrants, combinations—the co-
piousness—the individuality and sovereignty
of The States, each for itself—the money-
makers;
Factories, machinery, the mechanical forces—the
windlass, lever, pulley—All certainties,
The certainty of space, increase, freedom, futurity,
In space, the sporades, the scattered islands, the stars
—on the firm earth, the lands, my lands,
O lands! all so dear to me—what you are, (what-
ever it is,) I become a part of that, whatever
it is,
Southward there, I screaming, with wings slow flap-
ping, with the myriads of gulls wintering along
the coasts of Florida—or in Louisiana, with
pelicans breeding,
Otherways, there, atwixt the banks of the Arkansaw,
the Rio Grande, the Nueces, the Brazos, the
Tombigbee, the Red River, the Saskatchawan, or
the Osage, I with the spring waters laughing and
skipping and running;


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Northward, on the sands, on some shallow bay of
Paumanok, I, with parties of snowy herons
wading in the wet to seek worms and aquatic
plants;
Retreating, triumphantly twittering, the king-bird,
from piercing the crow with its bill, for amuse-
ment—And I triumphantly twittering;
The migrating flock of wild geese alighting in autumn
to refresh themselves—the body of the flock feed
—the sentinels outside move around with erect
heads watching, and are from time to time re-
lieved by other sentinels—And I feeding and
taking turns with the rest;
In Kanadian forests, the moose, large as an ox, cor-
nered by hunters, rising desperately on his hind-
feet, and plunging with his fore-feet, the hoofs
as sharp as knives—And I, plunging at the
hunters, cornered and desperate;
In the Mannahatta, streets, piers, shipping, store-
houses, and the countless workmen working in
the shops,
And I too of the Mannahatta, singing thereof—and
no less in myself than the whole of the Manna-
hatta in itself,
Singing the song of These, my ever united lands
—my body no more inevitably united, part to
part, and made one identity, any more than
my lands are inevitably united, and made ONE
IDENTITY,
Nativities, climates, the grass of the great Pastoral
Plains,
Cities, labors, death, animals, products, good and evil
—these me,


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These affording, in all their particulars, endless
feuillage to me and to America, how can I do
less than pass the clew of the union of them, to
afford the like to you?
Whoever you are! how can I but offer you divine
leaves, that you also be eligible as I am?
How can I but, as here, chanting, invite you for
yourself to collect bouquets of the incomparable
feuillage of These States?

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