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A BROADWAY PAGEANT.
RECEPTION JAPANESE EMBASSY, JUNE, 1860.

1

1OVER the western sea, hither from Niphon come,
Courteous the swart-cheek'd, two-sworded envoys,
Leaning back in their open barouches, bare-headed,
impassive,
Ride to-day through Manhattan.

2Libertad!
I do not know whether others behold what I behold,
In the procession, along with the nobles of Asia, the
errand-bearers,
Bringing up the rear, hovering-above, around, or in the
ranks marching;
But I will sing you a song of what I behold, Libertad.


2

3When million-footed Manhattan, unpent, descends to
her pavements;
When the thunder-cracking guns arouse me with the
proud roar I love;
When the round-mouth'd guns, out of the smoke and
smell I love, spit their salutes;


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When the fire-flashing guns have fully alerted me—
when heaven-clouds canopy my city with a
delicate thin haze;
When, gorgeous, the countless straight stems, the for-
ests at the wharves, thicken with colors;
When every ship, richly drest, carries her flag at the
peak;
When pennants trail, and street-festoons hang from the
windows;
When Broadway is entirely given up to foot-passengers
and foot-standers—when the mass is densest;
When the façades of the houses are alive with people—
when eyes gaze, riveted, tens of thousands at a
time;
When the guests from the islands advance—when the
pageant moves forward, visible;
When the summons is made—when the answer that
waited thousands of years, answers;
I too, arising, answering, descend to the payements,
merge with the crowd, and gaze with them.


3

4Superb-faced Manhattan!
Comrade Americanos!—to us, then, at last, the Orient
comes.

5To us, my city,
Where our tall-topt marble and iron beauties range on
opposite sides—to walk in the space between,
To-day our Antipodes comes.

6The Originatress comes,
The nest of languages, the bequeather of poems, the
race of eld,
Florid with blood, pensive, rapt with musings, hot with
passion,
Sultry with perfume, with ample and flowing garments,
With sunburnt visage, with intense soul and glittering
eyes,
The race of Brahma comes!




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4

7See, my cantabile! these, and more, are flashing to us
from the procession;
As it moves, changing, a kaleidoscope, divine it moves,
changing, before us.

8For not the envoys, nor the tann'd Japanee, from his
island only;
Lithe and silent, the Hindoo appears—the Asiatic con-
tinent itself appears—the Past, the dead,
The murky night-morning of wonder and fable, inscru-
table,
The enveloped mysteries, the old and unknown hive-
bees,
The North—the sweltering South—eastern Assyria—
the Hebrews—the Ancient of Ancients,
Vast desolated cities—the gliding Present—all of these,
and more, are in the pageant-procession.

9Geography, the world, is in it;
The great Sea, the brood of islands, Polynesia, the
coast beyond;
The coast you, henceforth, are facing—you Libertad!
from your Western golden shores
The countries there, with their populations—the mil-
lions en-masse, are curiously here;
The swarming market places—the temples, with idols
ranged along the sides, or at the end—bonze,
brahmin, and lama;
The mandarin, farmer, merchant, mechanic, and fisher-
man;
The singing-girl and the dancing-girl—the ecstatic
person—the secluded Emperors,
Confucius himself—the great poets and heroes—the
warriors, the castes, all,
Trooping up, crowding from all directions—from the
Altay mountains,
From Thibet—from the four winding and far-flowing
rivers of China,
From the Southern peninsulas, and the demi-conti-
nental islands—from Malaysia;


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These, and whatever belongs to them, palpable, show
forth to me, and are seiz'd by me,
And I am seiz'd by them, and friendlily held by them,
Till, as here, them all I chant, Libertad! for themselves
and for you.


5

10For I too, raising my voice, join the ranks of this
pageant;
I am the chanter—I chant aloud over the pageant;
I chant the world on my Western Sea;
I chant, copious, the islands beyond, thick as stars in
the sky;
I chant the new empire, grander than any before—As
in a vision it comes to me;
I chant America, the Mistress—I chant a greater su-
premacy;
I chant, projected, a thousand blooming cities yet, in
time, on those groups of sea-islands;
I chant my sail-ships and steam-ships threading the
archipelagoes;
I chant my stars and stripes fluttering in the wind;
I chant commerce opening, the sleep of ages having
done its work—races, reborn, refresh'd;
Lives, works, resumed—The object I know not—but
the old, the Asiatic, renew'd, as it must be,
Commencing from this day, surrounded by the world.


6

11And you, Libertad of the world!
You shall sit in the middle, well-pois'd, thousands of
years;
As to-day, from one side, the nobles of Asia come to
you;
As to-morrow, from the other side, the Queen of Eng-
land sends her eldest son to you.


7

12The sign is reversing, the orb is enclosed,
The ring is circled, the journey is done;


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The box-lid is but perceptibly open'd—nevertheless the
perfume pours copiously out of the whole box.


8

13Young Libertad!
With the venerable Asia, the all-mother,
Be considerate with her, now and ever, hot Libertad—
for you are all;
Bend your proud neck to the long-off mother, now
sending messages over the archipelagoes to you;
Bend your proud neck low for once, young Libertad.


9

14Were the children straying westward so long? so
wide the tramping?
Were the precedent dim ages debouching westward
from Paradise so long?
Were the centuries steadily footing it that way, all the
while unknown, for you, for reasons?

15They are justified—they are accomplish'd—they shall
now be turn'd the other way also, to travel to-
ward you thence;
They shall now also march obediently eastward, for
your sake, Libertad.


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