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Unnamed Lands


1NATIONS ten thousand years before These States,  
 and many times ten thousand years before  
 These States;
Garner'd clusters of ages, that men and women like  
 us grew up and travel'd their course, and  
 pass'd on;
What vast-built cities—what orderly republics—what  
 pastoral tribes and nomads;
What histories, rulers, heroes, perhaps trancending  
 all others;
What laws, customs, wealth, arts, traditions; What sort of marriage—what costumes—what phy- 
 siology and phrenology;
What of liberty and slavery among them—what they  
 thought of death and the soul;
Who were witty and wise—who beautiful and poetic—  
 who brutish and undevelop'd;
Not a mark, not a record remains—And yet all re- 
2O I know that those men and women were not for  
 nothing, any more than we are for nothing;
I know that they belong to the scheme of the world  
 every bit as much as we now belong to it, and  
 as all will henceforth belong to it.
3Afar they stand—yet near to me they stand, Some with oval countenances, learn'd and calm, Some naked and savage—Some like huge collections  
 of insects,
Some in tents—herdsmen, patriarchs, tribes, horse- 
Some prowling through woods—Some living peacea- 
 bly on farms, laboring, reaping, filling barns,
Some traversing paved avenues, amid temples, pala- 
 ces, factories, libraries, shows, courts, theatres,  
 wonderful monuments.
  [ begin page 267 ]ppp.00473.267.jpg 4Are those billions of men really gone? Are those women of the old experience of the earth  
Do their lives, cities, arts, rest only with us? Did they achieve nothing for good, for themselves?
5I believe of all those billions of men and women  
 that fill'd the unnamed lands, every one exists  
 this hour, here or elsewhere, invisible to us, in  
 exact proportion to what he or she grew from  
 in life, and out of what he or she did, felt, be- 
 came, loved, sinned, in life.
6I believe that was not the end of those nations, or  
 any person of them, any more than this shall  
 be the end of my nation, or of me;
Of their languages, governments, marriage, literature,  
 products, games, wars, manners, crimes, pris- 
 ons, slaves, heroes, poets, I suspect their re- 
 sults curiously await in the yet unseen world—  
 counterparts of what accrued to them in the  
 seen world,
I suspect I shall meet them there, I suspect I shall there find each old particular of those  
 unnamed lands.
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