Skip to main content

Years of the Modern.

Part of the cluster SONGS OF PARTING.


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;
  [ begin page 374 ]ppp.00270.376.jpg I see tremendous entrances and exits—I see new com- 
 binations—I see the solidarity of races;
I see that force advancing with irresistible power on the  
 world's stage;
(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  
—What historic denouements are these we so rapidly  
I see men marching and countermarching by swift mil- 
I see the frontiers and boundaries of the old aristocracies  
I see the landmarks of European kings removed; I see this day the People beginning their landmarks,  
 (all others give way;)
—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  
His daring foot is on land and sea everywhere—he col- 
 onizes the Pacific, the archipelagoes;
With the steam-ship, the electric telegraph, the news- 
 paper, the wholesale engines of war,
With these, and the world-spreading factories, he inter- 
 links all geography, all lands;
—What whispers are these, O lands, running ahead of  
 you, passing under the seas?
Are all nations communing? is there going to be but  
 one heart to the globe?
Is humanity forming, en-masse?—for lo! tyrants trem- 
 ble, crowns grow dim;
The earth, restive, confronts a new era, perhaps a gen- 
 eral divine war;
No one knows what will happen next—such portents  
 fill the days and nights;
  [ begin page 375 ]ppp.00270.377.jpg Years prophetical! the space ahead as I walk, as I vain- 
 ly 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 years, 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 me,
The unperform'd, more gigantic than ever, advance, ad- 
 vance upon me.

Part of the cluster SONGS OF PARTING.

Back to top